- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

MANLIUS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A man who survived an explosion at a storage unit in western Michigan that killed his dog says he considers himself lucky to be alive.

Police say the Thursday blast was likely caused by propane being ignited in a storage unit where medical marijuana was being grown in Allegan County’s Manlius Township, 45 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The area was littered with debris, and the blast could be heard for miles.

Jim Fritz, 46, said he was with his dog in another storage unit, sorting through belongings and using his laptop, when the blast happened. He said he saw a “big ball of flames” and was sent hurtling into the air.

“I heard a bang, but I kind of went into shock,” Fritz told WOOD-TV. “I was getting thrown through the building and through the walls.”

After waking up, Fritz said he dug himself out of rubble and started looking for his dog, Patrick, after hearing him whimpering.

“By the time I dug down to him, he was barely holding on,” he told The Grand Rapids Press. “I sat there with him for a minute then he passed.”

Fritz was the only person hurt in the blast. His injuries included internal bleeding, a broken shoulder bone, and first- and second-degree burns. He was released from the hospital Saturday, and could be back to full health in two to three months.

“I honestly don’t know how I came out of it in one piece,” he said. “After going and seeing what’s left of the buildings, the fact that I’m at home doesn’t make any sense.”

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