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Explosion Injures Repair Shop Owner

February 13, 2018 0 Comments

The owner of Indiana-based auto repair shop Lakeside Autowerks was injured in an oil-drum explosion Thursday morning.

The man was welding in the back of the building when a 50-gallon drum nearby ignited and exploded, according to Michigan City Fire Department Public Information Officer Tony Drzewiecki.

The man suffered burns on his hands and arms, and was transported to Franciscan Health, in Michigan City. He was reportedly “conscious, alert, and walking around” before being transported, according to Mike Lusco of the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department.


There were two other people at the repair shop at the time of the explosion, but both were working in the front of the store and were uninjured.

The La Porte County HazMat were called in to contain “maybe 10 to 15 gallons” of oil that spilled into a nearby sewer drain, said HazMat director Jeff Hamilton. The crew got ahead of the spill quickly and contained it.

The blast from the explosion was substantial, said Lusco, strong enough to knock down one of the employees working in the front of the store.

Part of the roof at the back of the building, made of shingles and wood, was blown off, probably by the blast more so than the fire, said Drzewiecki.

The owner was “very lucky” to escape with just his injuries, according to Lusco.

The oil drum likely exploded due to sparks from the welding igniting another flammable source before igniting the drum, said Lusco and Drzewiecki.

Here are a few tips on how to keep your service bay safe:

  • Implement a safety and wellness plan that covers all levels of employee health and safety.
  • Make sure your employees are wearing proper personal protective equipment related to the specific job they are working on.
  • Keep all flammable materials far, far away from welding stations and other sources of heat or sparks.
  • Keep the floor clean of oil slicks or grease spots.

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