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Published: Thursday, 5/29/2003

Erie Twp. man suffers burns over 70% of body

ERIE, Mich. - An Erie Township man suffered serious burns over most of his body yesterday after a container he was working on with a torch exploded, authorities said.

Michael Grodi was trying to slice open a 55-gallon steel barrel with a cutting torch in his friend's steel barn at 3427 Erie Rd., fire Chief Mike Demski said. Mr. Grodi and his son use the barn for their septic tank pumping business.

Authorities believe the barrel contained residue of windshield wiper fluid which exploded about 9 a.m.

The fire spread throughout the barn, igniting tools and two vehicles, a septic waste hauling truck, and a pickup truck. The fire caused roughly $10,000 of damage, Chief Demski said.

Volunteer firefighters from Erie Township and Luna Pier had the fire under control in about 10 minutes.

Mr. Grodi was transported to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he was in serious condition yesterday.

Mr. Grodi sustained second-degree burns over about 70 percent of his body, Chief Demski said.

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