Bethany Township, MI – The Saginaw News – Two people were killed and three were injured when an explosion over the weekend destroyed a family’s rented farmhouse in Gratiot County.
Three-year-old Meghan Hungerford and her 5-year-old sister Ann each had both legs broken in the explosion, which officials said likely was caused by a buildup of propane gas in a crawl space under the home. Their mother, Connie Hungerford, was listed in fair condition Monday morning after suffering burns.
The girls’ father, Rick Hungerford, died after being buried under debris in his recliner in the living room. Connie Hungerford’s brother, whose name was not released, died after the force of the explosion threw him from the house in Bethany Township.
The explosion rattled windows at houses more than a mile away. It sprayed glass across the road and pitched window frames into a field across the street. On Sunday, the front of the house, with the porch light intact, lay face up in the front yard about 15 feet from the charred remains of the home.
“The mother was screaming for her kids,” Ed Gallop, a neighbor who helped with rescue efforts told The Saginaw News. “She told me where to find the little girl (Ann), and I just started digging. I had to break off a piece of the wall to get her out. She was still hugging her teddy bear.”
Gallop and his son-in-law, Brad Grossett, 27, then tried to locate Rick Hungerford, whom they could hear pleading for help.
“He was very calm,” Gallop said. “He was only about 15 feet away from us and he kept saying, “I’m over here, please help me.’ I told him, “We’re trying but we can’t get to you, buddy.’ He was very mellow, but there was nothing we could do.”
The Hungerfords had moved into the rental house two weeks ago. Connie Hungerford’s 15-year-old son also lived in the house but was not home at the time of the explosion.