Two employees of Rick’s Auto Body were injured Monday morning – one seriously – after lacquer thinner fumes exploded in an enclosed area in the back of the shop.
Missoula City Fire Marshal Gordy Hughes said two workers were caught in the fire when static electricity caused paint fumes to ignite, and explode.
Hughes said two other employees rushed to the area after they heard someone yell fire, and doused the flames with a fire extinguisher.
One man was seriously injured and another had minor burns and injuries related to inhaling fumes from the explosion, Hughes said.
He said several items in the shop also caught on fire, but the auto body shop itself sustained minimal damage.
“We’ll be looking at things like what kind of protective system they have in place,” Hughes said.
The names of the victims were not released to the press.
Both men were transported to St. Patrick Hospital, Hughes said. The seriously injured man was then taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, because of the extent and severity of his burns.