MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An explosion leveled a house Saturday near Clara City, Minn., with the homeowner still inside, but Janice Harms was found alive, underneath two stories of rubble.
The damage is extensive, reaching yards beyond the foundation of the home at 10085 20th St. SE.
“Nothing is left, it’s flattened,” said Troy Sweep, the Clara City fire chief.
When help arrived around 4 a.m., crews prepared for the worst. Harms was believed to be inside, and authorities soon realized it was a rescue effort.
“It’s amazing she’s still alive,” Sweep said.
The blast caused the two story home to come crashing to the ground. Harms just happened to find the one thing that could save her life.
Sweep said the Harms’ refrigerator saved her life.
“There was enough room between the debris, so the fridge held it up,” Sweep said.
For her friends and co-workers at the local diner, the word, miracle, came to mind.
“My heart stopped for a second,” said Pat Sager, a co-worker and friend. “Just wanted to make sure she was OK.”
Janice was scheduled to work Saturday, but fate had a different plan.
“I had a nurse call me, because Janice was worried we didn’t know anything. She wanted to make sure we were notified,” Stager said.
The explosion may have destroyed her home, it did not destroy her will to survive.
The blast is under investigation, but so far it’s looking like a gas explosion is to blame. Harms is at North Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.