Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Woman critically injured after an explosion at her Provo home; rescuers hailed as 'heroic'

By Morgan Jacobsen, Deseret News

Published: Sun, March 16 4:05 p.m. MDT

 One woman was hospitalized after a Provo home exploded and caught on fire Sunday afternoon.

One woman was hospitalized after a Provo home exploded and caught on fire Sunday afternoon.

(Mark Wetzel)

PROVO — A 54-year-old woman was hospitalized Sunday afternoon after her home exploded and caught on fire.

At about 12:30 p.m., neighbors heard an explosion at 1214 E. 520 South in Provo.

"Our whole house shook," said Cynthia Green, who lives nearby. "My husband heard the glass landing, and we ran outside."

Upon approaching the home, neighbors discovered it had collapsed. Two men ran inside the home and rescued Glenda Wyatt, who is wheelchair-bound and was pinned inside.

When firefighters came, Wyatt was lying on her lawn and had first- and second-degree burns on her arms and back, according to Provo fire Capt. Dean York. She was conscious and alert, York said, and told firefighters she was cooking with a gas stove when the explosion occurred. She said the stove had had problems before.

"In looking at the building and getting her description, it appears to be a natural gas explosion from that appliance," York said.

Wyatt was the only person in the home, York said.

Wyatt was taken by ambulance to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. She was later flown to a burn treatment center at the University of Utah in critical condition from burns and inhalation of super-heated air.

Officials at the U. said she remained in "serious" condition.

Robert Shepard, who was one of the men that pulled Wyatt out of the rubble, said he "took off running" when he heard the explosion.

"My first thought is, someone has got to be in that house," he said. "I could see the lady sitting in a wheelchair and went and picked her up."

Shepard considers it an act of common decency, but York says it was "heroic."

"If it happened to my house, I would want someone to help me," Shepard said. "I'm just glad I was able to help."

Officials from Questar Gas were doing tests Sunday to ensure the home was receiving proper levels of gas at the time of the explosion.

Firefighters evaluated the 1,800-square-foot home as a total loss. Neighboring homes sustained no significant damage, York said.

Contributing: Ashley Kewish

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

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