Man Injured, Rural Rochester Workshop Destroyed By Fire
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Rochester fire crews were called out Saturday night to a residence in a rural southeast part of the city to battle a fire and deal with some explosions.
Several 911 calls were made around 8 p.m. about explosions being heard from a site located at 3619 Ranch Ct SE in Marion Township. The Fire Department was forced to send two tankers with three other trucks due to a lack of hydrant service in the area, which is just to the west of Marion Road.
According to the Fire Department, a large fire could be seen from nearby Highway 52. Deputy Chief Steven Belau says a large workshop on the property was fully engulfed when crews arrived. Belau says there were two homes and several other buildings close to the fire but they were not damaged. A building that shared a roofline with the workshop that caught fire sustained some damage.
The property is owned by Jeff Huey, who had left before the fire began. He spotted the flames as he was returning. His son Jeremy was there at the time of the fire and suffered severe smoke inhalation when he tried to save his pet dog. As of Sunday afternoon, he was in an induced coma at St. Mary's ICU.
Three explosions occurred after the fire department arrived and it was later determined they were caused by at least six aerial fireworks mortar rounds that were in the burning workshop. Belau says there were also some compressed gas cylinders of acetylene, oxygen and propane in the workshop, which was destroyed.There is no word yet on the cause of the fire or extent of damage.
“This was a very dangerous situation, more so than usual for firefighters, “ said Belau. “ We never know what we’ll be confronted with. It’s tough to scare a firefighter, but those mortars were close and loud.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.