LEWISTON — Two men were hurt Friday morning in an explosion that blew out the back wall at Rotary Auto Sales on Sabattus Street.

Firefighters and other rescue personnel responded to 865 Sabattus St. shortly after 11 a.m. The location is near Randall Road.

A witness said he saw people flee the building after hearing a blast. He said one man’s clothing appeared to be on fire as he ran from the building.

Rotary company officials reported that two men were hurt in the blast. One of the men, Ryan Bouchard of Lewiston, was described as “badly burned” by a family member.

A Lewiston firefighter shuts down his line Friday at the rear of Rotary Auto Sales on Sabattus Street. The back wall was blown out from an explosion. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

A friend said Bouchard had been underneath a truck doing some grinding work when the explosion occurred. His face, hair and arm were badly burned, the friend said. Bouchard was expected to spend the night in the hospital to make sure his lungs do not swell from smoke inhalation.

A family member said later Friday that Bouchard suffered second degree burns and was expected to recover. His children had visited him in the hospital earlier in the day, he said.

The second worker hurt in the blast was struck by some falling bricks, according to Nate Pearson, general manager of the business. He went to the hospital as a precaution to be examined for minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

Firefighters fought the blaze and confirmed they had it under control about 11:35 a.m. Hours later, the Office of State Fire Marshal was called to the scene to investigate the source of the blast. There was no word Friday night on what caused the explosion. Investigators remained at the scene after 7 p.m.

Rotary Auto Sales will be temporarily closed, a company official reported, while the investigation continues and repairs are made to the building.

Lewiston firefighters put out a fire Friday morning following an explosion at Rotary Auto Sales at 865 Sabattus St. Company officials report two people were injured in the blast. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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