A gas leak is suspected in a house explosion on St. Paul’s West Side this afternoon that left Michael L. Schultz, 74, with explosion injuries. Neighbors who heard the blast rushed to save Schultz, who lives alone in and was recovering from surgery, according to the StarTribune.
Israel Melendez, 48, told the paper that they first tried the front door and could not get in. Melendez then kicked in the window. They saw Schultz, surrounded by flames and badly injured, grabbed ahold of his shirt and pulled him through the window to safety.
More than 60 firefighters responded to the scene on the corner of Hall Avenue and W. Baker Street shortly after 2 p.m. An official source of the fire has not been determined, but Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Simpson told the Star Tribune that a gas leak is suspected. Representatives from Xcel Energy were at the scene.
Harriet Barriault, whose son Paul helped to rescue Schultz, told WCCO news that the day before the explosion Schultz was having a new washer and dryer installed but there was trouble with the gas line.
“If there was an appliance that was recently installed, I would think that would be a focal point,” explosion lawyer Eric Hageman Hageman told WCCO. Over time, pipelines corrode and that can lead to leaks and explosions, he said.
The Explosion Team at Pritzker Hageman is representing a client who was the victim of a house explosion in St. Paul last fall and represented a family who suffered the wrongful death of a woman who died in the gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have won multi-million awards for clients all over the country. To contact them for a free consultation, call 1 (888) 377-8900, text 612-261-0856, or complete the form below.
UPDATE: This post was updated 4/22/19 to include new information about the potential source of the explosion.