Lafayette firefighters responded to reports of multiple explosions at a Lafayette business Monday morning.
Indianapolis Scale Co.'s warehouse, at 3635 Coleman Court, first erupted around 10:15 a.m., eyewitnesses said.
The warehouse's owner was in the bathroom when the first explosion occurred, eyewitness Martin Boyd said. Boyd works at Peerless Pattern, a warehouse right next to the one that exploded. Boyd said he saw the man running out of the building after the first explosion with flash burns all over his body.
Fore officials said in a press release late Monday afternoon, "An adult male occupant sustained serious thermal injuries and was treated and transported by the Tippecanoe County Emergency Ambulance Service to a local hospital and later transferred to an Indianapolis Burn Unit. The patients’ condition is unknown at this time and his identity is being withheld upon notification of family."
Mike Kyger, who also works at Peerless, is a trained EMT and started treating him while multiple secondary explosions occurred.
The owner was taken to Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette to be treated for burns before being helicoptered to an Indianapolis hospital, Lafayette Assistant Fire Chief Brian Alkire said at the scene. No one else was inside the warehouse at the time of the explosions.
Indianapolis Scale Co. makes truck stop scales. The scales allow truck drivers to weigh their hauls before going onto roads that may have a weight limit.
The warehouse itself burned fast, and the fire was out before 11:15 a.m.
"That was hot," Boyd said. "I've never seen a fire burn that quick."
An intense heat still emanated from the area more than half an hour after the fire was extinguished. Vaporized insulated glass lay strewn across the lawn and road in front of the remnants of the building.
Boyd said the warehouse owner had been complaining about a gas smell for a few days, and that he even saw natural gas bubbling in his drains a few times.
Alkire said its still too early to identify the cause of the explosions.
Some local businesses were evacuated while the fire raged.