The house on Ashwood Court in Southampton's North Sea neighborhood on...

The house on Ashwood Court in Southampton's North Sea neighborhood on Tuesday, a day after officials responded to a chlorine explosion there. Credit: James Carbone

A bucket filled with chlorine tablets exploded Monday morning at a Southampton Town home where officials had already cited the homeowner for illegally operating a pool business, according to town officials.

A hazmat team from the town’s department of fire prevention responded to the Ashwood Court house on Monday — along with firefighters from the North Sea and Southampton fire departments — after reports of a small explosion shortly before 9 a.m.

Water reportedly got inside a 5-gallon bucket that held chlorine tablets, which caused the tablets to release gas, according to Southampton Town police. After a lid was placed on the bucket, the gas buildup sparked the explosion.

No injuries were reported, but neighboring North Sea homes were evacuated due to a lingering chlorine odor, according to Ryan Murphy, the town's public safety emergency management administrator.

Chlorine safety tips

  • Store pool chemicals in a cool location away from heat, direct light, doors and windows. Keep chemicals dry.
  • Protect stored chemicals from mixing together or with other substances.
  • Store only identical chemicals above or below each other to prevent chemical mixing in case of a leak.
  • Never store containers of any pool chemical directly on the floor.

Source: New York State Department of Health/CDC

"It's not like a fiery explosion, but an explosion of that container because of the pressure release," he said.

The homeowner, Joel Troy, is scheduled to be arraigned in Southampton Justice Court July 28 on multiple town code violations, including using a garage as a commercial office for a pool company, storing pool chemicals outdoors and parking vehicles on the home’s front lawn, according to Southampton Town. The town’s justice court director said Troy’s initial June 2 arraignment was adjourned.

Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Troy denied any wrongdoing, saying published reports on the incident were “totally wrong" and "fabricated." 


He declined to comment further on advice of his attorney. A message left for his attorney was not returned.

Murphy said after the town had first issued summonses, the homeowner told officials the pool materials would be off-site by June 1.

“That day has come and gone and there’s been no sign of cooperation or attempts to come into compliance," he said.

The Southampton Town Board unanimously approved a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting to allow code enforcement to conduct “forced property maintenance and hazard mitigation” at the home. A June 27 public hearing will be held to begin that process.

The enforcement action doesn’t grant the town access to the home's interior, Murphy said, but would allow officials to remove chemicals observed on the grounds.

The town requested the homeowner contact an environmental cleanup agency on Monday to work on cleaning the property.

Murphy said that company would clear material from the site "once it's neutralized [and] safe to transport."

Town officials have "routinely seen" vehicles from Troy's company, Tri-M Pool Care, parked on the front lawn, Murphy said. He added that a dumpster on the site is only allowed on a construction project with an active building permit.

Code enforcement inspected the property on May 15 and found it was "not properly maintained and an unsafe condition," according to the resolution seeking to authorize enforcement. An additional inspection took place June 9, according to the resolution.

Southampton Town Attorney James Burke said the town began investigating after neighbors complained about trucks parked in the front yard.

“It apparently was pretty obvious that he was running some type of business out of the premises,” he said.

Burke said a rental permit for an apartment in the home also had expired. Property records show the 3,382-square-foot, six-bedroom home was sold in 2008 for $999,900.

Burke said the homeowner running a commercial business on the site “puts himself, puts his tenant and his neighbors in danger.”

“It’s a perfect example as to why you separate residents from commercial enterprises,” Burke added.

The town fire marshal also is investigating Monday's explosion.

Southampton Town fire marshal John Rankin said the containers were stored outdoors in an area between the back of the house and a shed.

“There was no roof covering where the chemicals were stored,” he said.

An investigation is ongoing to determine how moisture got into the container that exploded, he said.

Correction: Joel Troy's arraignment is scheduled for July 28, after his initial June 2 arraignment was returned. An earlier version of this story had an incorrect date.

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