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Explosion Injures Graettinger Man

By Staff | Jun 23, 2011

DICKENS An apparent gas explosion destroyed a farm home and sent two people to the University of Nebraska Medical Center Burn Unit Saturday afternoon, June 18. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the incident at 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

According to Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow, deputies from his office were summoned to 2840 290th Street along with Spencer Hospital Paramedics, Terril Fire and Rescue and Fostoria Fire and Rescue to respond to a house explosion. Upon arrival at the scene, responders found two victims suffering from burns and other possible injuries.

Injured in the explosion was 36-year old Jon Sorenson of Graettinger, who was attempting to light a pilot light on a liquid-propane fueled gas water heater in the basement of his mother’s home when an accumulation of gas exploded. Sorenson’s mother, 65-year old Pat Sorenson, was in the kitchen of the home when the explosion occurred.

The blast severely damaged the home, trapping Pat Sorenson under a portion of the roof. Jon Sorenson was able to crawl from the wreckage of the basement of the home. Neighbors reportedly heard the explosion, felt the ground rumble and reported seeing a large, white cloud over the farmstead. Several neighbors responded to the scene and used a loader to lift a portion of the roof off of Pat Sorenson prior to the arrival of fire and rescue personnel.

Paramedics from the Spencer Municipal Hospital treated the mother and son at the scene and transported them to the Spencer hospital, where they were later airlifted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center Burn Unit in Omaha. Both were reported in good condition by authorities on Monday, June 20.

Family members report Jon Sorenson sustained third degree burns on his limbs and may require skin grafting, but only sustained superficial burns to his face. Pat Sorenson is reported to have sustained minor burns and injuries from the blast, and is not expected to require any skin grafting.

The explosion came less than a year after a previous tragedy on the farmstead, as on July 2, 2010, Doug Sorenson, husband and father, died after being trapped in a grain bin accident on the farm.

An investigation into the incident is continuing. Assisting the Clay County Sheriff’s Office at the incident scene were the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, Spencer Hospital paramedics, Terril Fire and Rescue and Fostoria Fire and Rescue.