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Three people injured Monday afternoon in the Harms Oil explosion in Aberdeen, South Dakota, were transported to a St. Paul hospital’s burn unit for further treatment.
Company co-owner Jason Harms told Sioux Falls’ KSFY-TV News that the victims are currently being treated at the Regions Hospital burn unit. Harms said all three victims are with family members.
Another Harms Oil co-owner, Jeff Harms, is also in St. Paul to support the victims, none of whom has been identified as of Thursday.
Harms Oil explosion:
Two victims driven to hospital
The Harms Oil explosion occurred at about 2 p.m. Monday at the Harms Oil truck maintenance shop (38490 U.S. Highway 12) west of Aberdeen. Three people were inside the building at the time of the explosion.
The victims initially were transported to a local hospital for treatment. At least two victims were taken to Avera St. Luke’s in Aberdeen by personal vehicles, according to scanner reports.
Traffic on Highway 12 was blocked shortly after the Harms Oil explosion, but a photographer who was at the scene said eastbound was reopened at about 3:15 p.m. Traffic on 133rd Street, known as Old Highway 12, was moving through, although police had blocked off access to 385th Avenue, which leads to the Harms Oil facility.
Harms Oil explosion:
Jason Harms said the Harms Oil explosion is under investigation by state and other agencies.
Tasty Pizza oven explosion:
Owner returns home to recover
Bob Peterson – who owns the Tasty Pizza North restaurant in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, with his wife, Mary – is back home and doing well, according to the Tasty Pizza North Facebook page. Peterson suffered burns in an oven explosion Dec. 26.
Peterson still will need a few weeks of recovery. The restaurant – located on Peterson Path, just off Highway 371 – is open for business.
North Memorial Ambulance transported Peterson, who was then taken to Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis. The Tasty Pizza North Facebook page said he was transferred to the hospital’s burn unit.
On Dec. 27, a Facebook post read: “Good news, Bob’s breathing tube has been removed! He was able to talk on the phone for a sec. Please keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming.”
The explosion was caused when the pilot light in an oven was being re-lit after it had gone out, Pequot Lakes police said in a news release. The Pequot Lakes Fire Department found no gas leaks inside the restaurant.
Parma Heights explosion:
Homeowner identified as victim
Homeowner James Bartko, 85, was identified as the victim of a Parma Heights house that exploded on Dec. 21.
Bartko was confirmed as the victim by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Shortly after the explosion, Parma Heights Police said they found a body inside the house at Mallo Place, but they said it would take several days to confirm the victim’s identity.
A neighbor said she was in her driveway when the explosion happened. “All of a sudden, there was this large boom,” Caitlin George said. “It shook the house, windows, everything. I’m standing in the driveway and it’s raining ash everywhere and I look over and there’s smoke everywhere, just pure black smoke.”
The house that exploded is in shambles, but authorities are still estimating the damage done to nearby homes.
“It’s just sad, it’s just horrible,” said Anna Andruchiw, another neighbor. “Nobody deserves to go like this, nobody does. Terrible.”
The cause of the blast is still being investigated.
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