Mom: Kids saved father’s life

Published 9:48am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 10- and 12-year-old children of the man injured in an explosion early Sunday morning likely saved their father’s life, their mother said.

In a statement to the Tribune Tuesday night, Cathy Rofshus, wife of Ronald Irvin Rofshus, 48, described the events surrounding the early Sunday morning explosion at 18115 Pelican Road.

Ron was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he remains in serious condition.

“The evening of Saturday, Oct. 20, started as a typical weekend night for my family,” Cathy wrote.

She and her 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter visited friends and then headed home around 8:15 p.m.

After that, Cathy planned to attend a wedding dance while Ron stayed with the children.

After she left for the dance and the children went to bed, Ron started working with chemicals in a room under the family’s concrete driveway, according to the statement. She described the room as a workshop with concrete walls, ceiling and floor that is separated from the rest of the house.

“Something went terribly wrong, an explosion occurred and Ron was severely injured,” Cathy said.

She said Ron made his way to the main part of the house and yelled out for his children to call 911.

Cathy said her daughter called 911, and then her daughter and son followed the dispatcher’s instructions to apply towels and blankets to Ron’s wounds.

“Our 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son saved his life,” she said.

Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office reports state dispatchers received a 911 call at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday.

Cathy said the children waited with their father in the driveway for help, where her son flagged down the first responders.

Ron was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and later to Hennepin County Medical Center.

The explosion remains under investigation by authorities, and no decisions have been made regarding whether criminal charges apply.

“I could fill a book with the names of all the people I would like to thank, starting with the 911 dispatcher, first responders, law enforcement agents and medical personnel,” Cathy said. “We have amazing family, friends and neighbors who are supporting us, even when we do incredibly foolish things.”

She said because it is likely Ron may be transferred to a different medical facility, people can send correspondence to 18115 Pelican Road, Albert Lea.

Cathy is a former Tribune reporter who now works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.