man burned in explosion and fire

Thursday, February 08, 2018 13:12 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

A man was seriously hurt Thursday morning in an explosion and fire at a Michigan City automobile repair shop.

LaPorte County Emergency Medical Services spokesman Buddy Kasinger said the man was in critical condition at Franciscan St. Anthony Health but likely would be transferred to a burn center.

He had burns to areas like the face and hands, he said.

Firefighters before 9 a.m. were called to Lakeside Autowerks along U.S 20 near Evergreen Plaza west of Johnson Road on a report of a drum exploding and fire.

Michigan City Fire Chief Randy Novak said the man apparently was doing some welding on a metal drum in a workshop on the north side of the pole structure.

Novak along with Coolspring Township firefighter Ryan Miller did not know what was inside the drum.

''All we know is from the initial dispatch that a drum exploded. They didn't give us anything other than that,'' Miller said.

Novak said the roof above the workshop caved in as the fire spread allowing water from a ladder truck to reach the flames.

Drew Harris just reported for work at Gearheads, a motorcycle repair shop next door, when he heard the explosion.

At first, he thought a motor vehicle collision occurred on the busy four lane stretch of highway.

''I heard a good ole loud boom. I thought it was an accident out front but once I saw the fire trucks and everything going and took a look out the side door I saw quite the fire blazing,'' Harris said.

Miller said about half the structure was destroyed.

There was little or no damage to the remainder of the building, including the customer service area, he said.