RUTLAND - At least three firefighters and a law enforcement officer were injured Monday afternoon when fuel in an old gasoline truck exploded following a fire.
The most seriously injured firefighter, Lance DeWinter, was initially treated at Humboldt County Memorial Hospital and was later airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Humboldt City Administrator Aaron Burnett said Tuesday evening that DeWinter is in ''pretty decent condition'' and is expected to return home today. He said DeWinter suffered burns on his face and ears.
The others injured in the blast were treated at the Humboldt hospital and released. A report from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department identified them only as firefighters and a member of the sheriff's department. However, Burnett said Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger was the injured law enforcement officer. He said the sheriff suffered ''a flash burn almost like a sun burn.''
A call seeking comment from Kruger wasn't returned Tuesday evening.
A report released by the sheriff's department Tuesday indicated that four firefighters and a law enforcement officer were injured. Burnett said three firefighters and the sheriff were injured.
The fire at 1748 Iowa Ave. near Rutland was reported at 3:22 p.m. Monday, according to the sheriff's department. The Humboldt Fire Department, which Burnett said covers a wide area outside the city limits, was dispatched.
When firefighters and deputies arrived, they found several pieces of machinery on fire, according to sheriff's department reports. One of those pieces of machinery was the old gasoline truck. According to Burnett, the firefighters were told there was no fuel in the truck.
The sheriff's department reported that firefighters were attempting to make sure the truck was completely extinguished when a door to one of its holding tanks was opened and the gas inside of the tank erupted.
''The fuel was actually boiling,'' Burnett said. ''It boiled up and exploded.''
Sparks from a pile of burning tree branches apparently started the fire, according to the sheriff's department.
Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com