Fire Destroys Eckelson Home

Paul and Eugene Komrosky are in Valley City’s Mercy Hospital after being injured in an explosion that destroyed Paul’s house on 101st Avenue Southeast in the Eckelson area Tuesday, said Eugene’s wife, Hilma Komrosky.

She said Paul is in the intensive care unit, and Eugene is in a regular room. “They both received second-degree burns – very painful,” Hilma said.

Hilma said two Komrosky families were living in the residence at the time of the explosion – Paul and Jason Komrosky, and Jason’s wife, Laura.

Sanborn Fire Chief Tim Lyter said Wednesday morning between 20 and 25 firefighters from the Sanborn and Valley City fire departments were at the scene from about 1:15 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“At 1 p.m. we got a report of a house explosion – it sounded like the owner and his dad were lighting the furnace and it blew up – we (firefighters) arrived about 15 minutes later, and the basement and main floor were engulfed in flames,” Lyter said.

Lyter said Eugene and Paul, who managed to escape the house after the furnace exploded, were waiting for an ambulance in a car outside the residence.

in the Valley City Fire Department to help, because it was too much for us to handle.”

Firefighters got the fire mostly under control by evening, but hot spots remained, “and we returned to the fire hall about 8 p.m.,” Lyter said.

Lyter said Sanborn used two pumpers and a 4,000 gallon tanker on the scene, and had to refill the tanker before flames were extinguished. He said Valley City also had a tanker on the scene which had to be refilled twice.

“We believe the fuel was propane,” Lyter said, adding the fuel and electricity to the house were cut off early on.

Hilma Komrosky said her husband and son were lighting the furnace for the winter when it exploded. “They were very lucky,” she said, adding she is confident they will soon return home.

Lyter specifically thanked the Valley City Fire Department and the Barnes County Ambulance Service for their assistance. He said the ambulance service stayed on scene during the fire in case firefighters were injured by smoke or fire, and transported the Komroskys to the hospital.

Two trains were stopped in Sanborn when Lyter’s truck left town, but the chief said Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway cooperated, and it likely took only an extra minute to arrive at the fire.
Lyter said the driver of his fire truck drove west, and crossed the tracks ahead of the train.

Said Lyter, “I called 911 dispatch last night to say they had done a great job” working with the railroad to quickly clear the tracks for the emergency.

Lyter said Sanborn firefighters attacked the flames from the south side of the house, but the flames were too strong to put them out. “We called