CA – Mother and children evacuate safely; father in critical condition

By Leroy Standish – Yvonne Depew woke early Sunday morning. A strange smell was in the air.

She woke her husband Shane and they went to investigate different corners of the house as their four children slept.

“She went into the kitchen and heard a hissing noise — they are on propane there — and she turned and said: ‘Oh my God, the wood stove is on,’ ” said Bill Pyle, chair of disaster services for the High Desert Chapter of the American Red Cross. “She turned and the house exploded.”

The force of the explosion was such that the roof of their home in the 36600 block of Anson Road was lifted into the air, windows shattered and the walls buckled. Faced with a torrent of flame she raced to save her four children ages 8, 4 and 2 years old and the fourth who is 4 months old.

“First she put the oldest boy out the window and handed the other three to him. She said she turned and looked at the rest of the house and it was a ball of flames and she knew she couldn’t get back to her husband,” Pyle said.

Shane, who was in a different part of the house when it exploded, fought his way through the flames and walked out through a shattered patio door, Pyle said.

Shane was flown to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for second and third degree burns. He is in critical condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The four children and his wife were ok, said Tim Franke, dispatch supervisor for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.