Four employees at McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing in Dodge Center were severely injured in an explosion at the plant Wednesday morning.
Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said emergency crews were called to the facility at 520 Highway St. E. at 10:32 a.m. after an explosion in the paint booth of the Final Paint Building on the north side of the facility. The exact origin of the explosion is unknown at this time.
Rose said a total of four employees suffered serious injuries and were transported to hospitals.
Two were airlifted with severe burn injuries -- one to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and another to Mayo Clinic - Saint Marys, then to Regions Hospital. Two more employees were transported by ambulance to Mayo Clinic - Saint Marys with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, although the nature of their injuries is unknown.
An additional two people were being treated for minor injuries on the scene.
The injured employees have not been identified.
Rose said most of the employees who work in the area were out of the building undergoing training when the explosion happened. Had that not been the case, more employees could have been hurt.
Rose said there was a head count right away after the explosion and all McNeilus employees are accounted for. Rose said all family members have been notified.
"You can imagine they are probably shook up with an explosion like this," Rose said of the employees. "From what I can understand, it was quite an explosion."
McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing is part of Oshkosh Corporation, and is a major employer in Dodge County. All production employees were sent home for the remainder of the day.
"There is a full on investigation" into the exact cause of the explosion, involving the State Fire Marshal's Office, the gas company and the Dodge County Sheriff's Office," Rose said.
The building where the explosion happened is long and narrow, and Rose said the doors on both ends of the building were damaged by the blast.
"There was a lot of smoke," Rose said.
Rose emphasized that the building and the area around it is now safe, and the roadway has since reopened.
McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing is expected to release more information in the coming days, Rose added.
Numerous law enforcement agencies, fire departments and medical teams responded to the the explosion in addition to the Dodge County Sheriff's Office, including Dodge Center Fire Department, Kasson Fire Department, West Concord Fire Department, Dodge Center Ambulance, Hayfield Ambulance, West Concord Ambulance, Gold Cross, Mayo One, Mayo Three, Kasson Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and MnDOT.
PREVIOUS STORY - Emergency crews have swarmed a McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing facility in Dodge Center and blocked off the roadway after a possible explosion Wednesday morning.
Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol has confirmed to FOX 47 that two people were airlifted to the hospital, and three were transported by ambulance.
Several law enforcement vehicles can be seen outside the building at 520 Highway Street East at 11:30 a.m.
We have a crew on the scene. Look for the latest updates on this developing story on myfox47.com and on FOX 47.