Elk River, MN – A 72-year-old man remains in critical condition after a shed exploded near his home in Elk River.

Vern Ohman (OH’-muhn) was in the large outbuilding and had just switched on his miter saw when the structure exploded just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. His house, about 60 yards away, was demolished, as was the outbuilding.

Ohman called 911 for help.

Elk River Police Chief Jeff Beahen (BEE’-hen) says the dispatch center was flooded with 911 calls reporting a big explosion shaking their homes – some as far as 14 miles away from the house. Neighbors also reported broken windows.

Ohman was conscious and breathing while being taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis with serious burns.

There was a propane tank outside the garage that recently was filled, and police suspect a propane leak caused the explosion. The state Office of Pipeline Safety is to arrive Thursday to investigate.