May 19--It was a warm Sunday afternoon of neighborhood barbecues and birthday parties on the 1300 block of Peach Street before a gas stove exploded in a house, sending its 49-year-old homeowner to a hospital with second- and third-degree burns.
The blast and fire began shortly before 4:30 p.m.
"We heard a loud boom and we came outside and saw the lady on the ground," said Everett West. He was next door with co-workers at a backyard barbecue when the blast occurred.
"I've been in Iraq," he said. "The sound was louder than a car bomb."
He and others rushed to the front of the house, where they saw the woman in the front yard. She was burned and her hair was on fire, he said.
"We covered her in some soaked towels until the paramedics could get here," West said.
Jay Williams, who lives across the street, had just moved his car, which he had parked in front of the woman's home. The woman's own car was parked on her front lawn, just outside her door.
He was outside when the explosion happened. The concussion blew glass into the street.
"She jumped through that front window on fire," he said. "Me and my wife ran over there, the neighbors all came out, trying to tend to her and call 911."
West and Williams both brought their garden hoses to spray the fire, while another person picked up the hose from the other side of the home and turned it on the house as well.
"We were doing what we could until the fire department could get here," Williams said. "The neighbors on all three sides were shooting water on it, mainly to keep the car from burning, too."
Williams said the house was mainly filled with smoke and there was some flame visible, but it wasn't until the Abilene Fire Department arrived and began their attack that the flames became heavier.
The woman was flown to UMC Harnar Burn Center in Lubbock for treatment.
West said the woman has two dogs, and they'd found one but not the other.
The house, worth about $100,000, is considered a total loss, according to a statement from the Abilene Fire Department.
Copyright 2014 - Abilene Reporter-News, Texas