A classmate who worked with Eric Leighton the day he died says he remembers hearing a buckling metal noise as Leighton cut into the barrel.
19-year-old Adam Soliman says he instinctively turned away when the barrel exploded.
Leighton and Soliman were tasked with making an improvised BBQ out of a 55 gallon steel drum in their Mother Teresa High School shop class three years ago.
Soliman today told a Coroner’s Inquest that a few days before the explosion; he had been told by his shop teacher to clean the barrel with the engine cleaning substance “kleen-flo”.
An engineer with the ministry of labour also testified the engine cleaner was almost as volatile as gasoline.
The explosion fractured Eric Leighton's skull. He died hours later in hospital.
Soliman was knocked out by the explosion’s force, when asked if he saw what happened to Eric, he choked up and quietly said no.
Shop teacher Scott Day is expected to testify later today.
This inquest won't lay legal blame but the jury can make recommendations. The Leighton’s have a $400-thousand lawsuit pending against the Catholic School Board.