Propane Tank Explodes in Minivan; Minn. Man Hurt

April 20--The driver of a minivan was injured shortly after noon Sunday when a propane tank in his vehicle exploded.

The 12:16 p.m. blast blew out all the minivan's doors and windows and sending shattered glass into University Avenue in St. Paul.

The Dodge Caravan was parked in a lot outside Walmart at 1450 University Ave. when the 100-pound tank blew up, said Deputy Chief Pat Smith of the St. Paul Fire Department.

The man was returning to the minivan and "either turned the car on or he lit a cigarette -- I don't want to speculate on either one -- there was a spark from something," Smith said. "It was a significant explosion."

The victim was taken to Regions Hospital with burn and concussion injuries, Smith said. He did not know how serious the injuries were. Fire officials on Sunday declined to identify the man or give his age.

Firefighters determined that a leak in the propane tank had caused it to explode.

The man was alone in the vehicle.

Smith said a 100-pound tank is significantly larger than the type that would power a barbecue grill. It measured about 5 feet high and 1 foot in diameter, he estimated.

No further information was immediately available.

Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522. Follow her at

Copyright 2014 - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.