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Provo home explodes; woman injured

Published March 17, 2014 9:30 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mossi White knows what comes after the walls tremble and the glass shatters, after an ear-ringing boom cuts through the quiet of a Sunday afternoon.

Homes disappear.

White, 73, is from Norway. She lived through World War II-era bombings, during which she heard and saw things she never thought she would again.

Especially not in Provo.

But about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, the house immediately behind White's exploded — sending its roof flying and walls crumbling, and injuring the 54-year-old woman inside.

"I remember the bombing raids where parts of the city would just disappear," said White, 73. "That's what it sounded like, what it felt like, causing the house to shake like that. It was scary. Really scary."

The woman who lived there, at 1214 E. 520 South, had been in her kitchen when her home blew up, said Provo fire Capt. Dean York.

Nearby neighbors saw the explosion and ran in to pull the woman from the home. She uses a wheelchair to get around, neighbors said, and is often at home with her grandchildren.

No one else was inside at the time of the eruption.

The woman suffered burns to her arms and face, but was conscious and alert when emergency crews arrived, York said.

She was transported to a hospital and may also have suffered some smoke inhalation, he said.

Moments after the woman was carried out of the exploded house, a fire began to spread throughout the remains of the structure, York said.

It took fire crews more than an hour to put out the blaze.

"It's a miracle she survived," White said. "The house is completely destroyed. It's just rubble now. Even before the fire, half that house was gone."

York called the house a "total loss."

Property records indicate the three-bedroom house was most recently assessed at about $62,000.

"There's no standing roof and the walls were blown out," the debris landing on neighbors' vehicles and homes, York said. Though, the surrounding homes were still habitable.

White, whose home shares a back fence with the house that blew up, said glass shards had been blown into her yard.

A piece of the exploded home's roof landed on the carport of the house immediately to its west and other debris littered the property to its east.

Fire investigators were working Sunday to determine what caused the house to explode.

"She said she had been having problems with her [gas-burning] oven," York said, but it was not immediately clear if that was the cause.

No other properties were believed to be at risk, and the gas to the exploded home had been turned off after fire officials arrived on scene.

The woman's dog also was pulled from the house in good condition, but a bit singed in the explosion, York said.

There may have been other animals inside at the time of the blast, York added, but investigators could not immediately find other pets.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae