By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  You wouldn’t think by looking at the pile of splintered wood and shattered glass that this is where a miracle was made.

“I keep looking up there and expecting some more pieces to start falling,” Dennis Pederson said.

The fact 76-year-old Dennis Pederson is alive is nothing short of miraculous. Tuesday morning, around 8:30, he was feeding his two cats in his basement, where without warning, his Paynesville house was no longer a home.

“Now, I probably would have gotten hurt, seriously hurt because I wouldn’t have been curled up with the cats, and the cats survived,” Pederson said.

Investigators are still trying to determine what went wrong. While likely caused by a natural gas leak, Pederson doesn’t recall even a faint odor in the seconds before.

What he does recall is being surrounded by debris, then crawling out of what had been a basement picture window.

“I got out there and everybody was looking at me and I was like, wow, I guess it was some pretty heavy-duty stuff today,” Pederson said.

He was treated at the scene and released. Not a broken bone, cut, not even a scratch.

“Just kind of crawled out — nothing to it!” Pederson said.

But without a place to live, friends and a daughter will help him find temporary shelter. And hopefully, his other cat.

“I think I’ve got a few, some Gods whatever hanging around,” Pederson added.

Safety experts say it’s rare not to smell natural gas prior to an explosion. They caution anyone who does, to leave a dwelling immediately and call 911.

Bill Hudson

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