Woman’s survival of Utah house explosion called a ‘miracle’ 1 day after work on a gas line

Mar 20, 2024, 6:27 PM | Updated: Mar 21, 2024, 6:55 am

AMERICAN FORK — An 82-year-old woman miraculously walked out of her home alive after a huge fiery and deadly explosion that sent debris flying for blocks in American Fork early Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, another elderly woman did not survive the blast.

The huge explosion and massive flames happened just before 6 a.m. and shook homes everywhere near the 55-year-old and older community where the blast happened at 67 N. 370 East.

Debris could be seen for blocks, on top of homes and cars. The force of the blast even blew out windows. Then suddenly amidst flames and debris, out walked Shirley Hunt, 82, still breathing and completely alive and well.

“Disoriented, pajamas and socks, insulation all over her hair,” Jim Hopkinson said. He and his wife live across the street and they immediately took Hunt inside to safety.

Hopkinson said the only thing Hunt said was, “My house blew up and she was worried about her temple recommend.”

No one could believe she was alive.

“I really don’t know how she could survive,” said Peggy Hopkinson, who also helped comfort Hunt after the blast.

“If there is any positive out of this. I honestly do not know how anyone survived what we are seeing here. That’s a little bit of a miracle in my mind said Battalion Chief Brandon Boshard with American Fork Fire & Rescue.

Hunt’s family is also calling it a miracle.

“It’s a miracle. My mom is a feisty little thing, I’m not surprised she survived, but she has no clue how she made it out,” Tammy Beck, Hunt’s daughter said to KSL TV.

One dead after large explosion in American Fork house

“She crawled out and she’s like ‘Why am I on the roof?’ She crawled out what she thought was a roof. Thought it was a dream and then she realized she was outside of the house and she ran to one of the neighbors and said, ‘Help me my house just blew up.’ Nothing broken, a couple of bruises and a couple of burns — she’s OK. She’s a fighter.”

Beck said Dominion Energy workers showed up at her mother’s house on Monday and spent several hours there working on a gas line in front of it.

“She saw them, she said ‘What’s going on?’ And they said, ‘There is a gas leak, so we are trying to find it,’ and they cleared her after about two to three hours of investigating and said ‘You are clear,’” Beck said.

Jorgan Hofeling, a spokesman for Dominion Energy released the following statement to KSL TV:

In the early morning hours, Dominion Energy, along with the fire department and other emergency personnel, responded to an explosion at a duplex in American Fork.  There was one fatality and one survivor. We offer our heartfelt condolences to all those impacted by this tragic event. Dominion Energy is committed to participating fully in the ongoing investigation.

We were completing routine maintenance in the area yesterday [Tuesday].  At this time, we are focused on gathering all the pertinent information to assist with the ongoing investigation.

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Woman’s survival of Utah house explosion called a ‘miracle’ 1 day after work on a gas line