man is warning his fellow east end residents to take extra
care when filling their wagon wheels up with air.
resident Mike Potvin was filling up the tires on his utility
wagon on June 30 when the split rim on one of the tires
blew apart causing severe lacerations to his face requiring
more than 150 stitches, a broken orbital bone, a broken
nose, a hole in his upper palate and the loss of more than
a dozen dental implants.
resident Mike Potvin (right) required more than 150
stiched to close up the large gash to his face caused
when the tire assembly on his wagon exploded while he
was inflating one of the tires (left). PHOTOS
already filled up two of the tires and was filling up the
third one, when it just exploded in my face,”¯ explains
Potvin. “At first I didn’t know what happened and then some
of the implants fell out of my mouth into my hands and that’s
when I noticed all the blood.”¯
partner, Jacynthe, was using a pressure washer to clean
the landing on their home about 30 yards away and didn’t
hear the explosion, or his cries for help.
up walking over to her under his own power and then fell
to his knees. Jacynthe immediately called 9-1-1 and an ambulance
arrived 10 minutes later which rushed him to the trauma
unit at he Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus. He remained
conscious the whole time. Once in the trauma unit, he was
looked after by an entire team that included a cosmetic
surgeon, a dental surgeon and a trauma doctor.
were unbelievable. I can’t say enough about how I was looked
after, it was right out of one of those TV shows like ER,¯”
on the shore on the Ottawa River just over three weeks later,
the 72-year-old Potvin looks remarkably better... all things
considered. His biggest issue is his mouth. The exploding
tire rim broke away a portion of the bone in his upper and
lower jaw where the implants were drilled in. He may end
up having to use a prosthetic denture.
says he was extremely lucky the metal rim didn’t hit him
in the throat or take out his eye. He also wants to try
and prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.
the tire that blew up, it was the rim,”¯ explains Potvin.
assemblies on wagons and dollies and put together with something
called a split rim. The two halves of the rim are held together
by a series of five bolts.
rim corrodes over time, the metal around the bolts weakens.
The older the rim gets and the longer it’s exposed to
the elements the weaker it gets. Ultimately, it is prone
to a critical failure. If enough pressure builds up in the
tire, the force applied against the rim becomes too much
with potentially dangerous consequences.
search of split rim explosions or split rim injuries turns
up dozens of posts on the Internet. The best way to avoid
potential injury is to use a cage around the wheel when
inflating it, or replace the tires altogether before a catastrophe
I had any idea it would blow up like that. It’s just a
wagon for crying out loud,” says Potvin.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)