Wichita, KS – By Chanda Brown
KSNW-TV – WICHITA, Kansas – It was quite a scene Thursday morning when a man narrowly escaped after his house exploded in the 4500 block of South Lulu around 6:15 a.m.
Authorities now think a gas leak inside the house may have caused the explosion. One man was inside at the time.
One look at his house and it’s amazing that he walked out of this house alive. You can see evidence of the force of the blast with a recliner sitting on what’s left of the roof.
Neighbors still can’t believe it. “We just heard this explosion. It literally lifted us out of the bed,” said Ronni Johnston.
Seconds later they hear another neighbor screaming for help. “The next thing I heard it just was a huge explosion and I knew something was deathly wrong,” said Cheryl Persinger.
The two neighbors teamed up, running to see flames shooting above their neighbors trees.
“Marvin was walking out. He was black from his face all the way from his torso. His hands, his lip had been split. He seemed disoriented but he knew, he could tell us, his address.He was saying he was fine then he collapsed and hit the ground,” said Johnston.
One neighbor called 911 while the other got water and towels to help the man until EMS crews arrived.
“As far as damage goes, it’s tremendous. We don’t see houses that are completely destroyed like this very often,” said Chief Ed Bricknell, Wichita Fire Department.
The man told firefighters he was working on his pool then started to walk back into the house as he lit a cigarette. That’s the last thing he remembers.
“I don’t know how that man walked out of that house. I have no idea,” said Persinger.
But neighbors say his survival isn’t the only blessing. “It’s so fortunate this house was empty. This house is usually teaming with kids and people. It’s rare to have less than five or six people in this house. It’s a very active house. It’s an absolute miracle no one else was home at the time,” said Johnston.
As for their role in the man’s survival, his neighbors say they don’t consider themselves heroes.
“It’s just what we’re supposed to be doing these things for our neighbors anyway. That’s what we do,” said Persinger. “I just called 911. I don’t think it takes a hero to do that,” said Johnston.
Officials say the gas leak was in the house so no one else is in danger.