Worker killed in Waconia propane explosionby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Investigators from four agencies are in Waconia today investigating the cause of a propane explosion that killed a teenage employee of the farmer's co-op and heavily damaged the Waconia Farm Supply building.
Officials with the Carver County Sheriff's office, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, OSHA and the state fire marshal's office are looking into the cause of a propane explosion that occurred Wednesday afternoon.
Officials with the Johnson Funeral home in Waconia confirmed the victim was Ryan Samuelson, 18. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Authorities found debris from the explosion scattered for blocks around the site of the blast, located at the intersection of Highway 284 and Highway 5, according to Carver County Sheriff Bud Olson.
"They're just walking the site and just marking and tagging, and giving more direction on how we are going to complete this investigation," Olson said. "We are weeks, if not months, away from finding out what happened here."
Olson said the explosion caused the sprinkler system to go off, which prevented some significant damage inside the building. But the exterior of the building and the area of the loading dock received significant fire damage, he said.
OSHA has cited the business for minor workplace violations in the past, including an infraction involving compressed gas. But it isn't clear if either of the incidents were related to the propane that apparently ignited last evening.
Waconia Farm Supply has been a fixture in the town for more than a century. It was formally organized as a co-op more than 60 years ago.
It is a huge part of the town," Olson said. "The community, this is one of the resources they use in town for all their daily needs."
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.