Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 3, 2002

Quick-thinking employee averts potential disaster

By Julie Yurek

No injuries were reported due to the quick action of an employee from Treasure Hunt Antiques and Consignment during an incident at Highway 7 near Lester Prairie last Monday.

Todd Pruden evacuated the business after a truck driver knocked over an electrical pole ­ causing a live wire to fall across the large propane tank that was located near the front corner of the building. The tank had a minor leak in a hose connected to it, previous to the accident.

The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. when Pruden was notified by a truck driver from Joel Hilgers Trucking, of Waconia that he struck the electrical pole in a parking lot with his truck as he tried to turn his truck around.

A cable snapped from the pole and landed across the business' propane tank.

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Coincidentally, the tank happened to have a small leak from a hose that was scheduled for repair last week, Pruden said.

About six customers were in the building at the time. Pruden calmly explained the situation and asked them to quickly leave the building.

The Lester Prairie Fire Department and McLeod County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the scene. The firefighters secured the area so no one would pull into the parking lot. A call was placed to Xcel Energy and it arrived at about 5:20 p.m.

Xcel Energy cut the cable, repaired the gas leak, and straightened the pole, since it wasn't broken or damaged, Lester Prairie Fire Chief Jim Hoof said. The department was sent home shortly after Xcel Energy arrived.

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