Deputies discover body of man killed in explosion

Stock image, Oct. 5, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – Police are unsure of what caused an explosion last week that killed a 75-year-old man living in a remote area south of Modena.

Iron County Sheriff’s deputies discovered the body of Roger Dean Minix June 14 while conducting a routine welfare check initiated by the man’s friends. They called dispatch after they had not seen Minix for more than a week, Lt. Del Schlosser said.

When deputies arrived on scene it was clear there had been an explosion that Minix had been caught in that killed him, Schlosser said.

Minix lived alone in a makeshift home he had constructed using shipping containers. Below the house, he had built a crawl space where he stored propane. Authorities believe that may be the source of the explosion.

“We are 98 percent sure that the propane is what caused the explosion,” said Sheriff Mark Gower.

The explosion is one of two that occurred last week in isolated areas within Iron County. The second on Saturday was at another home located in Hamlin Valley. Authorities believe it may have been caused by bad electrical wiring.

“A lot of times people live in these isolated areas so they don’t have to deal with government, and they build their homes themselves and don’t follow the conventional building codes that those living in more populated areas are required to go through,” Schlosser said.

“It’s great that they want to live out in the middle of nowhere, but because they are out there away from people, it’s even more important that they follow the building codes because they’re in places where no one can really get to them fast to help them. And, because they’re in such isolated areas, it may be weeks or months before someone even knows an accident has occurred,” Schlosser said. “If Roger’s friends had not asked us to do a welfare check, he could have been out there for a long time before anyone knew he was dead.”

The Sheriff’s Office kept the incident quiet last week until family was located. After searching for several days, authorities were only able to find a son who is disabled, Schlosser said. The county will pay to cremate Minix’ body.

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Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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