Amelio’s on the River owner Paul Ulerick was flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne Friday morning after his house exploded.
Sheriff Ed Schroder said the 63-year-old Ulerick was in critical condition before being flown by air ambulance. But he didn’t know Ulerick’s condition after that.
A neighbor who’d heard and felt the explosion went to the property in the 7000 block of County Road 600 East and was able to remove Ulerick from the fire and debris, according to Schroeder.
Officials do not know what caused the explosion, and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office requested the Indiana State Fire Marshall help with the investigation.
Ulerick had been working in his basement when the house exploded, according to Schroder.
After firefighters extinguished the fire and searched the house’s remains, they confirmed that no one else was in the house when it exploded.
His wife, Deborah, was away on a business trip, Schroeder said. Emergency workers also rescued a dog from the property, and a family member has taken it.
Cass County Central Dispatch received a call about the explosion at 9:54 a.m.
Emergency crews from Harrison Township Fire Department, Twelve Mile Fire Department, Logansport Fire Department and Phoenix Paramedic Solutions responded to the call.
Ulerick is a Twelve Mile native who returned to Cass County after 30 years on the road selling health information systems because technology allowed him to work from home.
In 2015, he and Deborah bought Amelio’s and changed it back to the original name. He jokes to customers that he is “Amelio.”
The restaurant will turn 150 in November, and Ulerick has been having small celebrations and specials all year.
Ulerick was part owner and head of sales at Connecture in Wisconsin before selling his stock and signing a three-year, non-compete contract. He’d been looking for a local bar and had friends who were regular at Amelio’s.
“I bought Amelio’s as something to do later,” he said. It became something to do now, after he left Connecture.