Hamblen County Commissioner Mike Minnich, who was injured in a propane explosion late Thursday morning, is recuperating at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. This morning, he was listed in stable condition in a regular room, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Minnich sustained non-life-threatening burns on his arms and legs, and his hair was singed in the blast, according to Capt. Scott Kimbrough with the Morristown Fire Department.
Minnich was filling the propane tank in his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van at Holston Gases on Thomas R. James Drive when the explosion occurred shortly before noon.
After pumping gas into a port on the exterior of the vehicle, Minnich went inside the van to get a tank capacity reading.
That’s when the natural gas ignited. The van did not catch fire, and the sliding side door may have been open at the time, according to Kimbrough.
Minnich was conscious when first responders arrived, although he was exhibiting symptoms of mild shock. He was transported by ambulance to the Knoxville hospital.
Kimbrough says it’s unclear if the fire department or Minnich’s insurance carrier will conduct an investigation in an effort to learn what caused the blast.
Minnich, a physical therapist, is also a member of the Morristown Civil Service Board. He was appointed to the county commission in June following the death of Louis “Doe” Jarvis.