A man was seriously injured when a toilet exploded in his face after he pulled the handle to test the water pressure in his Brooklyn apartment.
Michel Pierre sustained shrapnel wounds from flying shards of porcelain that pierced his face, arms and legs, and required 30 stitches, his lawyer said.
The 58-year-old IT specialist is now so fearful that he uses a rope to flush the toilet from behind the bathroom door at a safe distance.
"Those fears are part of his damages," said his lawyer Sanford Rubenstein. "Clearly toilets are supposed to flush, not explode."
Three other tenants were also injured by what the Daily News website dubbed "the porcelain bomb".
The website said Pierre was briefly knocked unconscious and ended up covered in blood by the explosion on October 2.
Rubenstein said a lawsuit would be filed against the management company of the building so a jury could decide how much compensation Pierre should be paid. The full cost of his medical or surgery bills are not yet known, Rubenstein said.
"Obviously there is a serious problem in the building," he said.
The water had been turned off that day to allow for maintenance work in the 16-storey building, which was built in 1964 and contains 275 apartments. Theresa Racht, a lawyer for the co-op board, said it appeared to have been a freak accident.
"This is a horrific incident. Everybody feels terrible that such a thing could have happened," she said. "It certainly makes me think twice about flushing the toilet when the water's been turned off."
She said four toilets in the building exploded but no particular evidence of wrongdoing had yet been found. "It has never happened before and certainly nothing has happened since," she said. "This could be very well what we call a true accident."