Police arrest 2 in exploding ashtray incident NORTH * Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

August 25, 1993

Two youths, ages 15 and 16, have admitted putting gunpowder in a Hanover, Pa., shopping mall ashtray, which burst into flames and burned a Manchester man as he tried to extinguish a cigarette, police said.

The teens told police they wanted to see the black smoke they expected when the powder was ignited.

Instead, Nelson W. Smith, 55, suffered second- and third-degree burns on his face and left arm when the powder exploded Saturday night at North Hanover Mall. He remained in serious condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at York Hospital.

"He walked toward the ashtray, and the next thing I could see was flames coming out of the ashtray and a big ka-boom," said the victim's wife, Brigitte Smith, 53.

The flames burned off Mr. Smith's mustache, sideburns, eyebrows and eyelashes, his wife said.

The teen-agers, accompanied by their parents, surrendered Monday and expressed regret at the injuries to Mr. Smith, police said, adding that they would file juvenile charges.

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