One dead after large explosion in American Fork house

Mar 20, 2024, 7:04 AM | Updated: Mar 21, 2024, 3:13 pm

AMERICAN FORK — A woman is dead following an explosion at an American Fork duplex Wednesday morning.

Battalion Chief Brandon Boshard with American Fork Fire & Rescue said they received calls about the explosion near 300 E. Main Street at 5:53 a.m. As firefighters arrived, smoke was seen billowing from the home’s roof and debris was scattered across the area. Surrounding buildings were also extensively damaged.

“There is debris everywhere,” Boshard said. “There’s many homes and other duplexes in the area with heavy damage.”

Boshard said another woman safely evacuated the duplex. Firefighters believe there were only two occupants in the duplex — one in each unit — but they will continue their search once it is safe to enter the structure. Heavy rescue crews from Provo Fire & Rescue, along with crews from other departments, were working to stabilize the home.

Boshard said a pet dog was safely located a few hours after their initial response. Responders confirmed the dog belonged to the victim killed in the explosion. Utility crews and fire investigators are working to determine a possible cause.

Authorities have not identified the woman who died in the explosion.

Dominion Energy released the following statement on the explosion:

“Today, Dominion Energy continues to work closely with investigators to determine the cause of the fatal explosion at a duplex in American Fork, Utah.  We appreciate your patience as we work diligently to gather all the information needed for the ongoing investigation.”

Reaction from neighbors

Neighbors told KSL TV they heard the explosion.

“At 5:52, I felt this shockwave immediately followed by a thump, like a boom thump,” said Steve Landeen.

Another neighbor, Jordan Haight was sleeping at the time, but was woken up by the explosion.

“The walls shook,” Haight said. “We heard a loud explosion. A loud boom. And I almost fell out of bed because I was so startled by it.”

Haight said he thought it was something else they were experiencing.

“We thought it was like an earthquake or something,” he said. “She told me, ‘You better go check the water heater. I think it might have exploded,’”

 Evidence of the explosion fell like snow in backyards.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Haight said. “I mean, when I was in California, the fires — there’s ash all around, but nothing as big as this. I mean, all the houses around here. You can see all the apartments. The house back there. All of its got debris all over it.”

A few hours after the explosion, first responders discovered a dog that had walked out of the house on its own. It was an animal that emergency personnel had been looking for.

“When he came out of that house, I was like, ‘Where did he come from?’ Like, it’s unbelievable. Like he was wet covered in insulation and debris,” Boshard said.

A neighbor told KSL TV that those who have been displaced because of the explosion were staying with friends and family until they could come back to their homes.

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One dead after large explosion in American Fork house