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2 neighbors save woman after explosion in her home


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PPROVO — 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.

"I heard a boom then I saw smoke coming up. I told my wife to call 9-1-1, and then I took off running," said neighbor Robert Shephard.

Upon approaching the home, neighbors discovered it had collapsed.

"We could hear her screaming," said neighbor Tiffany Pierce.

Shephard, with the help of another man, ran inside the home and rescued Glenda Wyatt, who is wheelchair-bound and was pinned inside.

"Our whole house shook. My husband heard the glass landing, and we ran outside," " said Cynthia Green, who lives nearby. "People wanted to help, but no one knew what to do, and he (Shephard) did it. He just ran in and saved her."

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.

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."

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.

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

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


Morgan Jacobsen


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