Weather Forecast


Three people burned when fuel tank explodes

BATTLE LAKE, Minn. – Authorities say three people suffered burns Monday when a fuel tank exploded as a cutting torch was being used to dismantle a John Deere combine so it could be crushed.

According to a news release from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office:

William Litzau, 57, of Osage, and Tresten Schaefer, 36, of Frazee, were using the torch to remove straps on the fuel tank when it exploded at about 2:05 p.m. Monday.

Litzau suffered severe burns to his upper body and face. He was taken to Perham Health with life-threatening injuries and later airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Schaefer sustained a second-degree burn to his arm and first-degree burns to his neck and face. He was taken to the Perham hospital in a private vehicle.

Curt Zacharias, 35, of Richville, also was present when the tank exploded. He sustained burns to his right hand.

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.