Rutland, ND – Fixing your own furnace can be risky. A Rutland man whose house exploded with him inside is in critical but stable condition tonight.
Hal Nelson was fixing a gas leak on his furnace just after noon yesterday when it exploded blowing the roof off and destroying the house.
Nick Hajek says, “It`s creepy, you can see little things that made it but nothing really important.”
This is all that`s left of Hal Nelson`s Rutland home. Memories and belongings, all underneath a pile of charred rubble.
Noel Liermark says, “It`s remarkable for this gentleman that it was once somebody`s home. What is it now it`s a mess what a shame.”
Neighbors were told it happened when Hal Nelson was repairing a propane leak on his wall furnace. The unit ignited and blew off the roof of the house while he was still inside.
Neighbor Vern Leist explains, “I was at that window having a piece of cake, I heard the explosion. All kinds of smoke over here.”
Leist is one of Hal`s neighbors and a close friend. Shortly after the explosion happened, he rushed over from across the street to what used to be the front door, then he was able to pull Hal out of the home before the fire started.
“All I can remember is looking back when we took him across the street there I seen right through the entrance way and all of a sudden it just went whew,” says Leist.
Leist says seeing his friend the way he did, reminded him of something out of a movie. “Here`s this man all burnt his clothes stuck to him, skin hair all gone, hands, front here.”
People in town say everyone loves Ron and can`t wait for him to recover.
Rutland`s fire chief says the propane company`s equipment seems to be working properly, so it may have been the furnace that caused the problem.