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3 hurt when fuel tank explodes on combine in Otter Tail County

BATTLE LAKE, Minn. - Authorities say three people suffered burns Monday when a fuel tank exploded as a cutting torch was being used to dismantle a farm combine so it could be crushed.

According to a news release from the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office:

William Litzau, 57, of Osage, and Tresten Schaefer, 36, of Frazee, were using the torch to remove straps on the fuel tank when it exploded at about 2:05 p.m. Monday.

Litzau suffered severe burns to his upper body and face. He was taken to Perham Health with life-threatening injuries and later airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Schaefer sustained a second-degree burn to his arm and first-degree burns to his neck and face. He was taken to the Perham hospital in a private vehicle.

Curt Zacharias, 35, of Richville, also was present when the tank exploded. He sustained burns to his right hand.