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.

Comments (5)
  1. Jay says:

    Lets see what else could have caused the explosions weve been reading about recently? Hmmm–natural gas??? As for myself this is one giant reason I hate having to use the stuff. I had to put a new furnace in the house, wanted a new oil furnace, but was talked out of it. Havent felt safe a day since! Sometimes I think the added savings wasnt worth it.

  2. jan says:

    The house on the next block exploded last year, the gas line was threaded through the sewer line and when the plumber came to clear the sewer pipe, kaboom! Fortunately nobody was injured, the plumber alerted the owner and they got out just seconds before the explosion. Everything seems to be done on el cheapo these days but it’s not worth it.

  3. Jay says:

    Geez, I wanted to add, I hope the woman wasnt injured seriously and will recover.

  4. Mike says:

    When I read an article that has the word miracle applied to the outcome, I can’t help think how every divine intervention takes a divinely inspired act.
    She is lucky to have lived through the explosion and I hope she has a quick recovery.

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