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Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service, Published December 31 2012

Hillsboro father, sons among 5 hurt in Minnesota ice house explosion

WILLIAMS, Minn. – Five people were injured Sunday morning in an apparent propane explosion in an ice-fishing house on the shore of Lake of the Woods at Zippel Bay, north of here.

The accident occurred about 8 a.m. in the privately owned structure.

All five were transported to Lakewood Health Center in Baudette and then airlifted to a burn center in Duluth, according to the Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Department.

The victims are Rodney Bolstad, 51, Hillsboro, N.D., his sons, Jacob Bolstad, 28, East Grand Forks, Minn., and Joel Bolstad, 19, Hillsboro; and William Huotari, 45, and Allen Stokke, 56, both of Fargo.

Rodney and Jacob Bolstad were listed in critical condition Monday afternoon in the burn intensive care unit at Essentia Health-Duluth, said Holly Gruber, Essentia spokeswoman. Huotari was listed in critical condition at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth.

Joel Bolstad was in serious condition, while Stokke was in fair condition in the Essentia burn ICU.

Sheriff Gary Fish said the cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

“The Lake of the Woods County Sheriff’s Office and state fire marshal have ruled out foul play and are confident this was an accident,” the sheriff said.

The blast blew out some windows and resulted in burn marks through a portion of the structure, the sheriff said, describing the damage to about 50 percent of the building.

The five had stayed in the fish house overnight, according to the report.