Fremont, OH – An explosion Wednesday at Colonial Acres Mobile Home Park blew out the north end of a mobile home, injuring one woman.
Clara Cook, 63, who lived in the trailer, was in critical condition in the burn unit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center Wednesday night. Neighbor Nancy Brann said Cook suffered burns to her arms and hands.
Brann rushed up the street to the woman’s mobile home after the explosion.
“(Cook) was standing on the edge of the floor of the trailer yelling ‘Nancy.’ That’s when I told her to get out; I was afraid it was gonna explode again,” Brann said.
Cook’s dog, Sadie, survived the explosion with some singed fur and blood-shot eyes. Rescue workers searched for her cat, which disappeared after the explosion.
Gray and black smoke poured from the open end of the mobile home at lot 24 on Continental Avenue about 12:30 p.m. as firefighters extinguished the blaze. Kitchen chairs, insulation and other debris lay scattered in front of the home. Windows were shattered on the south end of the mobile home, which had also been partially blasted open along the bottom of the home.
Fremont Fire Department Lt. John Burmeister said a large amount of propane gas leaked into the home and ignited.
“That’s the part that is being investigated,” Burmeister said of the igniting source.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office was also contacted for investigation.
Damage is estimated to be $30,000, a total loss, Burmeister said.
Brann said she was struck by the odor of “dead skunk” before the blast.
“I turned my head, and the front of the trailer just blew out,” she said.
Barbara Diehr lives next door to the damaged mobile home. She was also startled by the explosion.
“I heard the boom,” she said. “I looked out. I seen the front of the trailer blowing out.”
The explosion was the second time police visited the mobile home Wednesday.
Fremont Police Detective Sgt. James White said that shortly before 10:30 a.m., Cook suffered injuries to her hands and face when she and her husband, Leo, 75, were fighting. During the fight, Clara Cook apparently ripped a heater from a wall. However, when officers arrived at the home at 10:23 a.m. on a domestic violence call, they did not smell propane, White said. Leo Cook, who was charged with domestic violence, told White he had turned off the valve for the heater after the incident because he was afraid of a gas leak.
When firefighters arrived, the valve to the heater was off, but a valve to the stove was on, White said, noting all the windows were also open.
“I don’t suspect any foul play,” White said. “It’s just a bad situation.”
Leo Cook appeared at Fremont Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon, White said.