House explodes north of Freeborn

Published 10:19 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

A house burns after an explosion at 29642 660th Ave. in Freeborn. -- Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

FREEBORN — A house about a mile north of Freeborn, Minn., exploded Friday afternoon, severely injuring a 75-year-old man.

The man, identified as Ralph William Yotter, suffered burns to his face and body and was flown by helicopter to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

His condition as of Friday evening was unknown.

-- Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

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Ambulance crews and firefighters responded to 29462 660th Ave. around 1:20 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from Yotter’s wife, Patricia, who said her husband had been injured in an explosion, according to Freeborn County Sheriff Bob Kindler.

It’s unclear where she was, but she didn’t sustain burns. She was transported by ambulance to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for other injuries.

Freeborn Fire Chief Steve Siepp said when firefighters arrived, they found a small amount of flames that quickly spread throughout the home. At one point, a majority of the house was engulfed in flames.

Firefighters from Freeborn, Alden, Hartland and Manchester had the large blaze under control about 15 minutes later. By 2:20 p.m., the fire had been reduced to a smolder.

The cause and origin of the explosion is unknown.

Siepp said a representative from the State Fire Marshal’s Office arrived Friday afternoon to investigate, and authorities will continue to study the incident on Monday.

The structure is a total loss.

Kindler said the Yotters, who were not living there at the time, had recently sold their property and were awaiting closing on it.