Air Tank Blast Leaves Lawton Man Hospitalized In Coma

Posted at 6:48 PM, May 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-07 18:48:19-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A Van Buren County man remains hospitalized in a coma more than two days after an auto garage air tank exploded in his face.

On Monday, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office was called to the garage on 64th Avenue west of M-40 in Lawton where relatives had discovered Mike Lipley lying bleeding on the floor. Earlier that morning Lipley was filling a metal air tank to assist a friend with repairing a tractor tire when the tank exploded.

Metal not only hit Lipley but also the building’s ceiling.

Lipley was taken to LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw and then was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he remains hospitalized in a coma.

Relatives said Lipley’s injuries are mainly to his face and head.

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Walker said the air tank was an older model that should have been replaced.

“Usually there is a sticker on the tank with a precaution to tell you how far to fill it,” said Walker. “This tank did not have that.”