MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A mother and son are working together to heal, one month after a deadly explosion in western Wisconsin.
The blast leveled a home in River Falls on Feb. 1, killing a 75-year-old woman and sending her daughter to the hospital.
Jared Gaustad’s grandmother, Martha Gaustad, died in the explosion.
“Pretty much the worst night of my life,” Gaustad said. “She always picked me up, brought me out to eat. She was just a really nice lady overall, and I miss her a lot. And my mom gets her strength from her.”
Gaustad’s mother, Kari Gaustad, was also inside. She told her son she turned on a space heater and it felt like the air was on fire. Then there were a couple thuds, and next thing she knew she was in the yard with a piece of drywall on top of her. Kari’s now out of the hospital, continuing to recover from burns all over her body.
“She’s healing really fast, so that’s all that I’m asking for really is she gets better,” Gaustad said.
The family also lost two dogs in the tragic explosion, a chocolate lab named Lola and a golden retriever named Rosie. The night it happened, neighbors rushed into the house to try to save Martha. Gaustad was at a friend’s house at the time.
“I’ve already talked to most of them and expressed my gratitude,” he said. “There’s no words … I can say or how I feel about what everybody did for me and my family. It means the world to me.”
The Gaustads are now searching for a new place, and they want to stay near River Falls to be close to family and friends. Click here to help their family.
The River Falls deputy fire chief told WCCO that investigators couldn’t pinpoint what caused the explosion.