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UPDATE: Marion Township man in critical condition after explosive shed fire

Shed fire in Rochester
State Fire investigator Steve Wolf investigates the remains of a garage fire Sunday morning.

A Marion Township man is in critical condition at Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus after a major shed fire Saturday that resulted in at least five explosions.

The Rochester Fire Department received a call at 8:48 p.m. about a detached shed that was on fire at 3615 Ranch Court SE, near U.S. Highway 52, just southeast of Rochester. The caller reported hearing an explosion before seeing the fire. Firefighters witnessed at least three explosions originating from the shed when they had just started setting up at the scene.

Neighbors reported the explosions being strong enough to shake their entire house and knock pictures off the walls.

Ross Baker with the Rochester Fire Department said firefighters had to switch to fighting a "defensive fire," or focusing on only containing the fire instead of entering to save property inside, out of safety concerns and a need to prevent further spread of the fire.

Baker said he was unsure how long firefighters had to battle the fire but they spent most of the night putting it out. Another nearby shed sustained some fire damage. No other buildings, including the two houses on the property, were reported to have sustained damage.


Jeff Huey, who lives on the property, stated during a 2:30 p.m. interview at the property that investigators had just determined the cause of the incident was an electrical fire. He said the shed belonged to his son Jeremy and the explosions were likely caused by the numerous large fireworks he stored in it. He said at least five of the fireworks were likely Class A. He said the tank also housed the tank for an acetylene torch.

He said his son ran back into the shed shortly after the first explosion in an effort to save a family dog, which perished, and to try to prevent more explosions. He said his son was driven out by the heavy smoke and had to be rushed to the hospital due to severe smoke inhalation. He said his son is currently in critical condition and they are waiting further information from the hospital.

Nobody was injured while firefighters were battling the fire.

The state fire marshal is investigating the scene. The Rochester Fire Marshal's Office is also investigating the scene in collaboration with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

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