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Home explosion in Balaton injures 1

December 31, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

BALATON - A fire and apparent explosion injured a woman and destroyed a house in Balaton on Monday morning.

Neighbors said they found a resident of the house with burns and brought her to emergency medical responders.

The fire is under investigation.

Article Photos

Photo by Steve Browne

Fire departments from four cities responded to a home explosion on Maple Street in Balaton on Monday morning. One person suffered burns and was taken to the emergency room for treatment.

The incident was reported about 10:50 a.m. Monday at a home on the 200 block of North Maple Street. Neighbors across the street from the house said they felt the blast.

"I felt the whole house shake," said Balaton resident Sara DeGroat.

Sara and her mother Mary DeGroat said they looked outside and saw the house's resident, Teresa Kirst, on the porch. Mary DeGroat said Kirst had burns, and it looked like she might have been blown out of the house.

"She (Mary) said to call 911, and she was just gone," Sara DeGroat said.

They needed to get Kirst away from the fire quickly, Mary DeGroat said. It looked like "the wall was about to come down on her," she said.

Mary DeGroat said she wrapped Kirst in a blanket, helped her into the DeGroats' van, and drove her to the Balaton fire hall, where an ambulance was waiting. Kirst was transported out of Balaton to be treated for her burns, the DeGroats said.

Mary DeGroat said Kirst told her she had been cooking in the kitchen when the explosion happened.

DeGroat said Kirst had pets, but no one else was living in the house. The DeGroats brought one dog with burns to the veterinarian's in Tracy, they said.

Firefighters from the Balaton, Tracy, Garvin and Russell fire departments all responded at the scene.

Balaton Fire Chief Darrell Crumrine said the fire is under investigation, and he could not confirm an explosion at the residence, or the cause of the fire. The house was a total loss, Crumrine said, and there were also animals lost in the fire.

"There were two pets that we know didn't make it," he said. However, he said, Kirst was the only person injured in the fire.

Mary DeGroat said the fire brought to mind a gas explosion that seriously injured a family in Tracy in September.

"I don't know why it keeps happening," DeGroat said.



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