A family of two parents and their 19-year-old child were killed when a sudden explosion occurred as they were helping a friend renovate his wife’s beauty salon.
The incident unfolded in Bucklin, in the US State of Kansas at around 5:30pm on 14th October.
According to Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr, there were four people inside the building when the explosion suddenly erupted.
One of them, 26-year-old Christian Stimpert, was able to escape with his life.
But his friend Jerry Isakson, 26, and his friend’s girlfriend, 29-year-old Robin Hamilton, were killed in the fire.
Among the deceased was also the couple’s 19-year-old daughter Stormi Isakson, who they had brought along when they went to help Christian do renovations.
The survivor was taken to St Catherine Hospital in Dodge City with severe burns on his hands, Sheriff Carr said.
His father, Roger Stimpert, told local media that the couple were helping Christian get his wife’s salon ready as it was scheduled to open soon.
During the renovation, Christian and Jerry had closed the door while installing linoleum flooring. As per Christian’s father, it is believed that the pilot light on the water heater mixed with fumes, leading to an explosion.
Roger said: “There was a shout or maybe even a scream,” recounting what his son told him about the explosion.
He added: “He [Christian] turned and seen the flames that ignited and was coming at him.”
Roger said that Christian managed to escape the blazing building but realizsd only after getting out that his best friend and his family were still inside.
Roger said: “The first thing he had said was, ‘Jerry’s still in there, Jerry, Stormi and Robin.’
“After he had said that, everything they had told me after that I could not hear. I was just numb.”
Christian is expected to recover within the next five weeks fully. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to assist in covering his hospital bills as he does not have health insurance.
Meanwhile, the explosion has been determined to be an accident by the Kansas State Fire Marshal Office, in collaboration with Ford County Fire.
An investigation is underway to determine what exactly caused it.