One man was hospitalized with burns and smoke inhalation Friday after an explosion and fire at a cabin on Lake of the Woods, east of Solon Springs.
The incident was reported just after the noon hour at 10654S Lake of the Woods Loop Rd. A neighbor reported hearing a loud explosion that shook her house and saw smoke and flames coming from the cabin next door, and a vehicle rapidly leaving the driveway. She called 911 as she evacuated the area as the explosions continued.
Emergency personnel arrived on scene and observed flames periodically shooting several hundred feet into the air as propane escaped and ignited from a tank that was just filled that morning. The explosions ceased as firefighters attacked the blaze.
Deputies located the cabin owner Dale Obrien, 85, of Superior, at a residence across the lake being treated by Gold Cross Paramedics. Dale told deputies that he was trying to start his gas fireplace when a burst of flames forcefully shot out from the fireplace insert directly at him. He said he knew he was burned and had to evacuate the cabin. He left in his vehicle and sought assistance from the first place he found somebody home. He was taken to a local hospital with burns to his hands, face, and legs, as well as smoke inhalation.
The cabin was a total loss. Several nearby structures were also damaged by heat.
Volunteer firefighters from Solon Springs, Gordon, Highland, Bennett, and Lake Nebagamon responded to this incident.