Twin Lakes, MN – By JANE NORDBERG, Daily Mining Gazette

One Mass City couple said they feel lucky to be alive following an explosion Monday night that leveled their Twin Lakes summer home just hours after they had left to run errands.

“There are a lot of emotions, from being sick about the house to feeling very happy we are still here,” said homeowner Gale Kocher, who, along with her husband, Mike, had just opened the home for the season Monday.

Gale said she mowed the grass in the afternoon and then returned to her Mass City home. Her husband and their two sons stayed in Twin Lakes until after dinner, when they went into Houghton to shop.

At 9:05 p.m., a propane leak caused an explosion and the home burst into flames, according to Twin Lakes Assistant Fire Chief Richard Krupp.

“I’m about a mile away, and I both heard and felt the explosion which literally rocked the house,” Krupp said.

The Kocher structure, located on the corner of M-26 and Parkside Drive, was on a main thoroughfare next to a coffee shop and across from Twin Lakes Convenience store. “Those owners said they had things fall off the shelves, and thought it was a sonic boom until they looked out the window,” Krupp said.

Twin Lakes volunteer firefighters were already working on site when Krupp arrived, he said.

“What was left of the house set over the basement was entirely in flames when I got there,” Krupp said.

Firemen also extinguished smoldering debris scattered 200 feet in each direction, some landing in Twin Lakes State Park as well as the snowmobile trail across M-26, said Krupp.