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House explodes near Logan; 2 injured

   |  Posted Oct 22nd, 2009 @ 10:00pm


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CACHE COUNTY -- Two people were injured when their home exploded near Logan. It happened around 10:30 a.m. Thursday near 2400 West and 2900 South in the rural College Ward area.

An off-duty Cache County deputy and his father, who live nearby, were the first to get to the house after the explosion. They had been working on their barn when they heard the explosion and drove to the house to see if they could help.

Cache County Deputy Shane Zilles said, "When I got there, I didn't know if anybody had survived the explosion."

"I looked across, and I seen just kind of a brown haze, then I watched and all of a sudden the house just blew up," said Ted Ricks, who lives and works near the home.

Ricks said he saw debris fly nearly 100 yards into the air, and then flames began shooting up a few minutes later. Debris littered a nearby field, trees and rooftops of neighboring homes.

Neighbor Brandon Anderson was sitting in his house about a quarter mile away. "I felt the percussion against the wall of my home," he said. "You just knew that something bad happened."

Anderson, his brother and several other neighbors ran out to see what he said was debris in the air, fluttering. The house was gone.

Zilles said 23-year-old Mary Sorensen came out of the house bleeding and screaming for her brother. Rescuers ran to the backside of the house where they heard Tony Sorensen, 27, yelling. They saw fingertips sticking out of the debris.

Zilles said instinct and training with the sheriff's office kicked in. He walked on a lot of wooden boards and nails to get to Tony. Several others worked quickly to to do the same, fearing another explosion.

"He was conscious and awake and covered in a lot of debris," Anderson said. "He was awake enough that he was squirming and screaming, bless his heart, so we got right in there and dug him out."

"Burns were pretty bad--as far as his legs, his arms and hands," Zilles said. "Hair was singed quite badly."

After they got Tony out of the rubble, another explosion caused a fire and flames as high as 30 feet.

Tony Sorensen was flown to University Hospital in Salt Lake City by medical helicopter with burns over 65 percent of his body. Mary Sorensen was taken to Logan Regional Hospital with a possible concussion.

Green and orange cones marked areas in the field where debris was thrown. Investigators arrived on scene as crews with the Logan City Fire Department put water on the smoking remains of the house.

Ricks said there are no fire hydrants in the area, so fire crews had to carry water in.

The Cache County Sheriff's Office said the first explosion leveled the structure. The blast also damaged a garage door at a neighboring home just to the south.

Ricks said the couple who owns the home is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland, and their children were house sitting for them.

Everyone in the close-knit rural town of College ward said they were grateful no one was killed.

Anderson said, "This family is a family that you don't want to see bad things happen to, of course, because they've lived their lives in such a way that you don't want anything bad to happen to them. They're those kind of people."

Family members, who declined to talk on camera, were trying to salvage what they could and put them into boxes.

The initial determination is the explosion was caused by a leaking propane line within the home and the propane was ignited by an unknown source. The outside propane tank did not explode.

The propane system was serviced and the storage tank filled on Wednesday by Pitchers Sales Farm Machinery and several small leaks were detected. The home owners were planning to get the leaks repaired Thursday.

A third person was living in the home but moved out on Wednesday.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi, Marc Giauque and Alex Cabrero.


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