Neighborhood mourns Provo resident killed in shed explosion

Oct 21, 2022, 7:43 AM | Updated: Nov 3, 2022, 7:11 am

PROVO, Utah — A Provo neighborhood is mourning after a longtime resident was killed in an explosion in an outbuilding early Friday.

“He was a good man in every way,” said neighbor Dick Baumann.

Baumann is still processing the sudden loss of his longtime neighbor and friend, identified by police as 87-year-old Paul Schneiter.

“Everybody in the neighborhood loved him.”

Schneiter was in his work shed early Friday morning at the home near 1600 W. 1000 North when something went terribly wrong.

“We received a call at 6:32 there’d been reports of an explosion in the area,” said Capt. Sam Armstrong with Provo Fire & Rescue.

What caused the explosion is under investigation, but the result was devastating.

“They found a person that had been affected,” Armstrong said. “That person is deceased.”

“It happened,” Baumann said. “He didn’t suffer.”

Baumann said Schneiter was a writer — a poet — who found purpose in everything.

“He liked things that were organized in a very poetic way,” he said.

Baumann also said Schneiter often used his tools to help others.

“He had the best tool shed in the whole neighborhood,” Baumann said.

And Baumann was often the recipient of Schneiter’s generosity.

“(He) would say, ‘Oh, I’ve got that tool. You can borrow mine,'” Baumann said of his neighbor.

Baumann said Schneiter helped build a plaza on the side of his home, adding a plaque for his late wife.

“He’s the one who wrote it.”

Baumann’s wife died a year ago today.

With the chaos of the morning, he had forgotten about the day, until checking on his neighbor’s wife.

“I went in there, and she said, ‘Dick, do you realize what day this is?’ And I said, “Oct. 21.” And she said, ‘Merna.'”

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A difficult day, now more difficult with the loss of a friend. But instead of dwelling on how Schneiter died, Baumann said he’ll remember how he lived.

“He was very willing and very giving,” Baumann said.

Baumann said Schneiter was in his shed, getting it organized, when the explosion happened.

Provo fire officials said no one else was hurt and there was no damage to the rest of the house.

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Neighborhood mourns Provo resident killed in shed explosion