A rural Preston man was airlifted to Iowa City following a house explosion west of Preston Friday.
Dan Miller suffered severe burns and was in critical condition over the weekend, his friends and family said on social media.
“Dan had an extremely rough night, with unexpected complications,” according to a social media post Saturday from Erica Felkey, who was with the Miller family at the hospital over the weekend. She said the family is asking for prayers and well-wishes as Dan recovers.
Emergency crews were called to a fire at 39137 Highway 64 a couple miles west of Preston at 11:34 a.m. Friday. The south and east sides of the Dan and Jen Miller house were fully engulfed in flames when law enforcement and firefighters arrived within 10 minutes of the 911 call by Ron Schmidt. The Preston Fire Department called in their counterparts from Charlotte for an additional tanker and manpower.
Law enforcement rerouted Highway 64 traffic at the scene to make way for emergency personnel.
A medical helicopter arrived at about 12:08 p.m. to transport Miller to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Deputies said they were able to speak with Dan before he was airlifted to Iowa City for burn injuries. His last memory was of lighting a candle before being blown out of the house, he reportedly told law enforcement.
Firefighters said a natural gas leak could be to blame for the explosion.
The state fire marshal is investigating the incident.
Jen and the couple’s two daughters were not home at the time of the explosion. They were shopping for school supplies at the time, family members said.
Maquoketa, Miles, Preston, Sabula, Springbrook, Charlotte, and Goose Lake fire departments responded to the call, as did Jackson County Regional Health Center Ambulance, Jackson and Clinton county sheriff’s deputies, the Preston Police Department, and Air Care.
The family is accepting gift cards and monetary donations to help with medical bills and various other expenses. Accounts have been set up at Clinton National Bank and Maquoketa State Bank.
Dan works at Preston’s Plastics Unlimited manufacturing plant, which also is accepting monetary donations and gift cards on behalf of the Miller family.
Four years have passed since a house explosion decimated a home in Jackson County, a home that also was located along Highway 64 east of Maquoketa.
In that June 25, 2015, incident, Stephen Walter Brandenburg, 73, was removed from the basement of his home after it exploded at about 4:40 a.m. in the 2200 block of 312th Avenue. He was airlifted to Iowa City but died from his injuries.
Experts blamed a natural gas leak for that explosion.