Moorhead, MN – A Detroit Lakes man is recovering in Region’s Hospital in St. Paul with burns covering 76 percent of his body after his fish house exploded in Moorhead on Sunday morning.
Michael Herzog spent the weekend with friends in Fargo-Moorhead, and was using his fishing house as a camper to sleep.
But just before 8 a.m. Sunday there was an explosion.
“The roof was completely blown off. The windows, everything inside was just destroyed,” said Michael’s brother Josh Herzog.
Josh said Michael was using the fish house’s propane stove top for heat. He woke up cold, and lit a match to re-light it, not realizing the fish house had filled up with propane.
“It was devastating. And that’s when we realized how lucky he was,” Josh said.
Josh said burns now cover 76 percent of Michael’s body. Of those, 14 percent are 3rd degree burns.
“The doctors had said if he was 50 years old, he wouldn’t have made it,” Josh said.
The 23-year-old is in extraordinary physical shape. Michael started at quarterback for three years at Concordia College in Moorhead before graduating last year.
In high school at Detroit Lakes, he was the all-time football scoring leader and also a two-time state champion in golf.
After graduating college, he joined the family business in Detroit Lakes, Herzog Roofing.
After the explosion, a local woman on her way to church with her family found Michael screaming and waving his arms.
“I stood there and told him we called 911 and the police are coming. And that he was going to be OK,” said Kristina Otte of Dilworth.
It’s still too early to know exactly what Michael’s recovery will look like, but family said it could be anywhere from a month to six months.
“He won’t give up. He battled through acl injuries and broken bones in football.. this is obviously extremely worse than that but he made it through those and he’ll make it through this,” Josh said.
At the hospital, Michael is alert and talking with his family.
The family especially wanted to thank everyone who has reached out with thoughts and prayers. They are maintaining a Caring Bridge page to give updates on Michael’s condition.