Canton, MI- Risking his life, a Canton man dashed out of his home to help a woman pinned under rubble after her home exploded Tuesday morning.
The blast could be heard more than a mile away.
“You got to do what you got to do,” Tom Vanderwill, 60, said while looking out his living room window at the heap of destruction. “My own welfare wasn’t an issue.”
The 8 a.m. explosion leveled the home of Janice and David Goble, both 64. They were taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township. Janice Goble was in serious condition and her husband was in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Vanderwill was making coffee when he heard a thunderous bang in his Canton subdivision just west of Beck Road. He looked outside and saw pieces from the house flying through the air high above the Gobles’ home.
Barefoot, he climbed through the rubble as the flames started to grow.
“I hear Jan screaming, and I find her: She’s buried to her neck in the rubble,” Vanderwill said. He lifted a slab of the home off Goble, but he was unable to move it aside because of other debris.
Flames were coming near.
For a quick moment, Vanderwill considered calling it quits.
He thought: “This isn’t going to work. Drop it and run and leave her. And that was a nanosecond.
“And the next nanosecond, this is a human being that needs my help. … I’m not leaving here.
“If I have to go down with the ship trying to save her, if I die in the whole thing, that’s OK, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing because she’s good people.”
Moments later, other neighbors scrambled to the scene and moved Jan out of harm’s way as Vanderwill held up the slab.
Then, her husband stumbled out of the wreckage.
Fire Chief Michael Rorabacher said the cause of the blast appears to be an accidental natural gas leak.