FARIBAULT, Minn. (WCCO) – People living in two Faribault homes are lucky to be alive after an Easter Sunday grilling accident.
The incident occurred just after 5 p.m. at the Evergreen Estates mobile home park. You could see flames and smoke pouring from both homes and a car. One person was injured.
“We were having an egg hunt, we just heard somebody scream, two seconds later we heard an explosion,” said neighbor Damon Martinez.
A quiet Easter Sunday was suddenly interrupted by an explosion, followed by flames and clouds of smoke that could be seen for miles.
“I saw the car on fire, the house, the neighbor’s house on fire, too,” neighbor Vanessa Gutierrez said.
“It was the scariest thing in my life,” Lorena Ochoa added.
Ochoa said her mom, 52-year-old Norma Ochoa, had turned on the grill on her back deck and was getting dinner ready for a house full of family and friends.
“While she was grilling, the propane tank fell and the hose broke off. Fire officials say the release of that pressurized gas is what caused the fire,” Ochoa said.
The blaze acted like a flamethrower, quickly spreading throughout the home and to the neighbor’s next door.
“All the kids were inside. We ran inside and got all the kids out. Some jumped out the windows. Some came out the front door,” Ochoa said.
Ochoa said everyone escaped without injury except her mother.
“She has first-degree burns on her face, arm, hand,” Ochoa said.
Firefighters had to work around crowds of onlookers. It took about 45 minutes before the flames were extinguished. Both homes are total losses.
“It’s still very tragic, but if you look at the circumstances surrounding it, it could have been a lot worse,” said Chief Dustin Dienst, with Faribault Fire. “We won’t forget this one anytime soon.”
Dienst said it’s best to keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home and off your deck.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.