Reporting Bill Hudson
FREDERICK, Wis. (WCCO) – For 10 years, the Wolfgram family called a yellow, two-story farmhouse in the Wisconsin woods their piece of heaven, but over the weekend a gas explosion, caused by the flip of a breaker panel switch, turned it into an instant hell.
From his hospital bed, 71-year-old Roger Wolfgram, of Coon Rapids, Minn., remembers the moment he hit the switch Friday evening, “I don’t really know that happened. Soon as I turned it back on – BOOM – I went down like a ton of bricks.”
For nearly an hour, the debris of Wolfgram’s heaven held him captive. As daylight faded, he feared the worst.
“I was sure I was dying ‘cause I couldn’t get enough air to maintain breathing,” Wolfgram said.
Luckily, several neighbors down the rural road heard the blast and called for help. When they saw his car covered by debris, they knew instantly Wolfgram was trapped somewhere inside.
Terri Stoner lives across the road from Wolfgram and she said she had just left to attend a football game in town when she saw Wolfgram’s car.
“I don’t know that emergency personnel knew anyone was there at first, so it helps to have nice neighbors,” Stoner said.
Wolfgram can remember feeling trapped and unable to move, when he heard muffled voices overhead.
“I heard voices hollering my name, so I hollered, ‘I’m over here.’ But of course, nobody knew where over here was,” Wolfgram said.
Moments later, rescuers saw a small stick that Roger had poked through the rubble. He was pulled to safety and rushed to Regions Hospital where he is being treated for second-degree burns and a broken hip.
Wolfgram’s daughter, Shawna Eckert, said Wolfgram’s smashed hip will require surgery to heal.
“For being covered in four feet of debris and still to be alive is truly amazing,” Eckert said.
What is also amazing is the fact that his grandsons decided to stay home for the weekend. Despite the loss of his faithful dog, which was killed in the explosion, Wolfgram is aware that it could have been so much worse.
“I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world – somebody’s darn well looking out for me,” Wolfgram said.