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Firefighters: Home exploded after woman used gasoline to clean

SOUTH OGDEN, Utah — Fire investigators said a home exploded Tuesday morning after a woman used gasoline to house clean.

Crews arrived to the home, located at 183 Country Club Dr., and found one side wall of the house essentially blown out from the frame.

South Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Rick Rasmussen said it appeared what had taken place was an accident involving “bad judgment.”

“When police talked to the renter on this, she was using gasoline, approximately two-and-a-half gallons of gasoline, downstairs to clean up the floor, to clean up some grease or some tar off the floor,” said South Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Rick Rasmussen. “So, what happened then is that gasoline, being heavier than air, migrates to the water heater and that water heater is about 8-inches off the ground, so boom.”

Rasmussen said the woman escaped with no significant injuries, though the roof had also been raised off the frame by the explosion.

“She got a few singed hairs and she’s OK,” Rasmussen said. “It’s miraculous, really.”

Rasmussen said gasoline is occasionally used as a solvent, but it should never be used inside a house.

“The vapors are three times heavier than air, so whether you’re using it upstairs or whatever, those vapors are going to go down the stairs and hit the water heater and you’re going to have a problem,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said the gasoline was being used about 15-feet from the house’s water heater.

“It’s just misfortune, you know, she doesn’t understand the nature of gasoline,” Rasmussen said.

Neighbors, who were around at the time, said they heard something that sounded like a building had collapsed.

“Boom!” exclaimed Maria Mariscal, who lives across the street.

Next-door neighbor Suzi Noker said the explosion sent glass shards and debris flying into the side of her car, which had been left in her carport.

“It was so loud, it lifted my bed off of the floor!” she exclaimed.

Jessica Bingham said she was in her bedroom when she smelled the smoke.

“The smell was so strong that I was like, ‘I’m sleeping through my house burning down,’” Bingham said.

Bingham said she was surprised to learn that the woman had been cleaning with gasoline.

“Who cleans with gasoline inside?” she asked several other neighbors standing around her.

Rasmussen said damage was estimated at $150,000 and the home was likely a total loss.

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