A truck driver was hospitalized with severe burns in West Duluth, Minnesota after an unusual explosion took place inside his truck last Tuesday afternoon.
According to Duluth Assistant Fire Chief Erik Simonson, the pump he was using to transfer waste oil at a business on 23rd Avenue West and Superior Street experienced a malfunction, and the mixture of vapor and air caused the pump to explode.
“This is not common – very uncommon actually. It’s very difficult to get the right mixture going on in which you have oxygen, enough fuel to do this. But my understanding is that there was a backfire on the gasoline driven pump and that is what caused the ignition source,” Simonson told Northland News Center.
The driver, whose name has not been released, sustained second-degree burns to his torso, upper arms and face, and was rushed to Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center for treatment.
The truck, which was in an alley when the malfunction occurred, is from Rainy Lake Oil in International Falls, Minnesota – a company which, Simonson said, regularly serves the community.
“It’s not a fly-by-night outfit by any means,” he told WDIO-TV. “Something happened here that was unusual and very unfortunate.”