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Published May 15, 2010, 11:55 AM

Mesabi East student dies after welding incident

AURORA, Minn. (AP) — Students at Mesabi East High School were mourning a classmate Friday who died from complications following a welding incident there.

AURORA, Minn. (AP) — Students at Mesabi East High School were mourning a classmate Friday who died from complications following a welding incident there.

Jordan Adams-Meckola, 17, of Aurora died Wednesday at the Miller-Dwan Burn Center in Duluth. The Mesabi Daily News reported Friday that the junior was injured April 26.

Travis Leseman, a senior who was in the welding class, told the Daily News that Adams-Meckola was gas welding when the accident happened.

"He was leaning over his weld ... they didn't make sure he was wearing a welding coat," Leseman said. "There was a backblast and the fire started on the inside of his sweatshirt."

Leseman said he and other students tried to put out the flames coming from Adams-Meckola's sweatshirt, but Adams-Meckola ran outside. Leseman said he followed him and ripped off the sweatshirt.

"He didn't know how badly he was burned. He said, 'Thank you so much,'" Leseman said. "He hugged me and some of his skin stuck to my shirt."

Mesabi East Superintendent Shawn Northey released few details, saying the incident was being investigated by the school and by a neutral third party.

Northey said a safety meeting was held after the incident and instructors were required "to double-check and triple-check" equipment and procedures.

Classmate Nick VanDeHey told the Duluth News Tribune he was also in the class when a backflash from the equipment started a fire. He said Adams-Meckola was burned on his chest, arms and fingers. VanDeHey said students thought he was recovering, but learned he died from sudden cardiac arrest.

A funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Aurora.

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