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Fires and explosions make news across the country on a daily basis. Set a Google alert for the term “home explosion” or “house fire,” and you will be inundated with updates.
Here is a sampling of a few recent headlines:
One dead, two injured in Kentucky home explosion
From WHAS 11, Louisville, Oct. 28-29: Authorities have identified a victim and two others injured in a Kentucky home explosion Saturday in McDaniels, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville.
Authorities said Loretta Harris, 62, of Burnside, Kentucky, was found dead at the scene in the 700 block of Camp Green Shore Lane, near Rough River Lake.
Joshua Lucas, 29, and his cousin, Timothy Randall, 56, were seriously injured. They were transported to University of Louisville Hospital.
“I would have given anything to have traded places with him at that moment,” Linda Pool said of her son, Joshua.
Pool said she heard the news while working at a nearby hospital. A friend gave her the address of the explosion. “When she repeated it back to me, it was my son’s,” Pool said.
Lucas sustained burns to more than half his body. Randall and Harris, who was Randall’s girlfriend, were visiting Lucas from out of town for a weekend of fishing.
Neighbor Larry Tucker pulled Lucas and Randall from the debris but couldn’t save Loretta. “Just pray for the family,” Tucker told WHAS11. “That’s all we can do. Pray for everyone that’s involved in it.”
This is the latest tragedy for Lucas, who was injured four years ago in a crash that separated his neck from his spinal cord. His father died from lung cancer this year, and his service dog, Dixie, died in the explosion.
Lucas is an Army veteran, and his mother said this recovery will be his biggest fight, especially without his beloved dog. “(Joshua) could have nightmares and (Dixie) would wake him up and be there for him to pet her,” Pool said of Dixie. “And that was something that was not taught to her. She was that in tune with him.”
Pool said she already has been approached by organizations planning to get Lucas a new service dog. She said if anyone would like to help pay for the dog’s training, a donation can be made here. Put “Dixie” in the comment section.
Gas explosion injures 2, destroys Austin home
From KXAN-TV, Austin, Oct. 29: A build-up of natural gas caused a house in south Austin, Texas, to explode and seriously injure two people, according to the Austin Fire Department.
The explosion happened Saturday afternoon at a house at 2301 Bendridge Trail, just off William Cannon between I-35 and South Pleasant Valley Road.
Firefighters put out a gas-line fire started by the explosion. The home was destroyed.
Santana Vazquez lives across the street and witnessed the blast. He said it caused the ground to shake. “All of a sudden we heard the explosion,” Vazquez said, “and then I looked around this way and saw the roof of the house up in the air.”
The force of the explosion sent debris flying into nearby yards and houses. It also caused extensive damage to the house next door, displacing Diego Rocha’s father and brother.
“I think they’re just happy,” Rocha said about his family members. “They see the bigger picture. Forget materialistic stuff. It’s a blessing. Accidents happen.”
Firefighters said a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s were badly burned in the explosion. A neighbor told KXAN that he ran into the splintered home after the explosion and got the man out safely. The woman had already made it to the front yard, the neighbor said.
According to Austin-Travis County EMS, the man was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, while the woman went to another hospital. Firefighters said they were in serious condition but are expected to recover.
The Austin Fire Department said at least five other homes and several cars were damaged during the explosion. Firefighters are estimating the damage to cost about $750,000.
Austin firefighters and crews from the Texas Gas Service are investigating how the build-up of natural gas happened.
St. Louis man dies in fire
From St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 29: A man burned in a fire in a St. Louis home Saturday night has been identified, authorities said.