Maple Lake, MN – BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED; Pioneer Press
A house exploded in Maple Lake, Minn., on Tuesday, literally shaking the neighborhood and leaving clothes hanging in 60-foot-tall trees.
No one was injured when Gordon Henry’s home went up about 50 miles northwest of St. Paul. Henry, who lives alone, was not at home at the time.
The explosion is under investigation, but it looks like it could have been a propane explosion, maybe caused by a gas leak in the basement of the home, said Lt. Dan Anselment of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.
At 6:18 a.m., the Wright County sheriff’s office started getting numerous calls about a very loud noise — one as far as Monticello, which is at least 10 miles away.
The first officer to arrive at 6780 Gowan Ave. N.W., in a sparsely populated area almost a mile outside town, saw the house was completely leveled and what was left was burning.
Frank Hogan, who lives about 150 yards away across the street, woke up to the noise.
“I figured a plane crashed in the yard — there was a loud explosion and a flash of light,” he said.
Hogan got up and ran outside. Before he saw the flames through the trees, he could smell the fire.
Aside from the clothes strewn about, there were 100-pound concrete blocks that had flown 60 feet and lumber scattered in trees 40 or 50 feet away, Anselment said.
“It basically tore the house apart when it blew up,” he said.
Two other nearby homes sustained minor structural damage. At one house, the front door was blown in and dishes knocked out of the cupboard, Anselment said.
Hogan thinks a wall of trees protected his house. Other than the force knocking some items off the shelves in his pole barn and some framed pictures falling, his property was OK.