FLORISSANT, Mo. — A man was sent to the hospital with burns after his Florissant home exploded Sunday morning.
Firefighters with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District said they were called to a home on the 400 block of Paddlewheel Drive at around 8 a.m. When they arrived, they found the house had exploded.
Debora Cheers, who lives just feet away from where the explosion happened, said she and her husband felt their house shake when it happened.
"It sounded like crystal and glass and something being broken," Cheers said.
Initially, the couple thought something had happened to their home until they looked across the street.
"I looked over there, and then I just started screaming 'Dial 911, Dial 911!'" Cheers said.
Cheers said the roof of the up was "up in the air," the kitchen windows were blown out and she could see straight through the home.
"My other neighbor actually ran inside," Cheers said.
That neighbor is Justin Koster, an electrician, who said he was doing laundry when he heard it.
"I just heard a boom," Koster said. "It didn't rattle my windows but I said, 'That ain't right for a Sunday morning.'"
At first, Koster said he thought a tree had fallen on the home until he saw fire coming out of the front window.
"Then, I just grabbed my two fire extinguishers," Koster said.
Koster put out four small fires inside the home. He said it didn't take long for him to realize the source of the problem.
"I knew it happened in the kitchen because everything had blasted away from the kitchen," Koster said. "I thought he was cooking something, it must have been the gas line. Immediately, I knew it was gas."
The blast impacted the foundation of the entire home, and both Koster and Cheers said their neighbor, the man who lives there, was laying on his front porch shaking.
"It's like he fell off a 10-foot ladder," Koster said. "He was straight on his back. He was out of wind."
Neighbors said the man is in his 70s and lives in the home alone.
"My husband ran home and got a blanket to put over him because it was wet and cold," Cheer said. "We just kept talking, and talking and talking."
Cheers said she and other neighbors worked to keep him conscious until first responders got there.
Firefighters said neighbors called 911 and were already working to put the fire out before they arrived. They said a neighbor, Koster, turned off the gas at the home.
The man was taken to the hospital but is expected to survive.
Koster said he is in touch with the man's children, and he was told he suffered first degree burns to his hands
While Koster said he is certain the explosion was caused by a gas leak, the fire department has not released an official cause. In the meantime, Spire is investigating.
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