Farwell, NE- By Gretchen Fowler


FARWELL — After her daughter and son-in-law were severely burned in a flash propane explosion at their home on Aug. 5, Patricia Nunnenkamp said, Howard County residents were quick to help.”People around here have been really kind,” Nunnenkamp said of the community’s response to the Kyhn family tragedy.

Nunnenkamp’s daughter, Susan Kyhn, and her son-in-law, Doug Kyhn, of rural Farwell were burned at their home while investigating a propane smell coming from the area of the furnace and water heater downstairs.

The couple was taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Grand Island before being flown to the burn center at St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center in Lincoln. Doug Kyhn remained in critical condition at St. Elizabeth’s on Friday. Susan Kyhn, who also remains at St. Elizabeth’s, was listed in fair condition.

Nunnenkamp said she and her husband, Bill, who live in Boelus for part of the year and California the rest of the year, have taken care of the Kyhns’ two boys, ages 14 and 4, since the accident. The Nunnenkamps were staying in Boelus when the accident occurred. Mrs. Nunnenkamp said they have received assistance from area residents who have provided clothing for the children, helped get them ready for the start of school and driven them to and from school and sports practices.

Nunnenkamp said it is not known how long Doug and Susan Kyhn, both in their 40s, will have to remain in the hospital. She said both of the Kyhns had to be put in drug-induced comas because of the pain, and skin grafting has started on each of them. She said Doug Kyhn remains in the induced coma and has burns over 65 to 68 percent of his body. She was unsure of the extent of Susan Kyhn’s burns, but said they were less severe than her husband’s.

While Nunnenkamp was not present when the accident occurred, she said she was told that the couple was upstairs with their two children when they smelled propane. As the couple were going downstairs to investigate, the hot water heater ignited fumes that had been released into the air from a leak in the furnace. The couple was injured in the flash explosion, but the home was not severely damaged. The children were upstairs and were unharmed.

A fund to assist the family with medical expenses has been established at the Sherman/Howard County Bank.