Frederic, MI – A Frederic man was pulled from a fire by a neighbor after the cabin he was living in exploded last week.
The Frederic FireDepartment and EMS Service was called to an explosion and fire with a victim trapped inside at the Lost Acres Cabins, located at11014 North Old 27, at 3:10 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19.
A resident staying in the cabin, James “Tony” Laratta, was attempting to light a cigarette off the propane stove when the explosion occurred, said Edward Goscicki, the deputy chief for the Frederic Fire Department and EMS Service. Laratta sustained burns to his face, hands and chest.
“He was wearing a leather coat, so that prevented him from getting any other burns on him,” Goscicki said.
Elizabeth Robar, a resident living in an adjacent cabin, was able to pull Laratta from thewreckage. The roof landed on top of his body, after the explosion occurred.
“It was great that she was able to get him out of there,” Goscicki said.”The outcome would have been completely different if she hadn’t been there.”
Goscicki requested a full mutual-aide response from the Otsego Lake Township Fire Department. Once on the scene, he also called for a tanker truck from the Grayling Fire Department.
Laratta was taken to the Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, and was later air-flighted to the Hurley Medical Center in Flint. Laratta was treated for third-degree burns and was released from the hospital on Oct. 20.
Laratta faces undergoing skin grafts to deal with his burns.
“God’s got purpose for our lives that’s what got me though this,” he said.
Laratta’s wife, Terryilyn, was at the Frederic Community Library when the explosion occurred. She was waiting for the Frederic Food Bank to open.
Terryilyn said it was unclear if her husband returned from a medical appointment in Gaylord, when she was informed about the explosion. She learned that James was transported to the hospital upon her arrival back at the cabins.
“I was really surprised and upset about what happened,” she said.
Terryilyn said she had previously talked to Robar.
“Lucky enough, she was there and she was at home,” Terryilyn said.
Sgt. Shon Chmielewski, from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, and a Trooper from the Houghton Lake Post of Michigan State Police, assisted at the scene to make sure no one else was in the cabin and surrounding residents were safe.
Goscicki said the door from the cabin that exploded flew into another cabin and the force from the explosion caused a drywall screw to crack a hole in the door-window of another cabin.
Goscicki said the cause of the explosion is still under investigation and it is unclear if there was an issuewith the propane stove, furnace or a leak in the gas line coming into the cabin.
Goscicki said a Lost Acres Cabins maintenance employee had checked on a reported gas leak earlier in the day.