Risking their lives

John Mcardle stands by as Andrew Miklesh surveys the aftermath of an explosion on Vista Road in Isle.

A heroic rescue occurred on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 14, on Vista Road in Isle.

Andrew Miklesh, a resident on Vista Road, thought he heard a transformer explode, an explosion that shook the neighborhood and could even be felt by the fish houses on the lake.

Miklesh saw smoke just to the northeast of his home. He quickly went to the site of the explosion which was a residential trailer owned by David Christofferson.

 Christofferson‘s neighbor to the east, John Mcardle, was there also investigating the explosion. It appeared the explosion came from the east side of the trailer and sent debris, along with the structure and content of the trailer home to the west several feet. The roof had also collapsed on the east side of the trailer.

A fire was beginning where the explosion appeared to come from, and the pair was concerned about the occupant.

“I was worried the roof would collapse on him,” said Mcardle.

They saw Christofferson laying by debris inside his home near a window. Miklesh and Mcardle knew they needed to act quickly to remove him.

They tried to pull Christofferson up out of the window. He was responsive but seemed dazed, and it appeared his leg was caught on something. The pair continued to remove Christofferson from the trailer, using a nearby ladder, but were unsuccessful.

Law enforcement, Isle police and a Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s deputy, arrived just as the fire had gained momentum and had become quite large, noted Mcardle.

A sheriff’s deputy, Brett Erickson, was able to dislodge  Christofferson’s foot from the debris it was caught on and lift the man up to the window. Isle Police Officer Alex Skluzacek, along with the help of the two bystanders, guided him down the ladder to safety.

Christofferson was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. It is suspected that the explosion was caused by an improperly working gas furnace.

Of the heroic rescue, Mille Lacs County acting Chief Deputy Kyle Burton said, “There was definitely an urgency to the situation, and with the fire and the initial explosion, there was the possibility for a secondary explosion.”

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