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Female Dies In Pagosa Springs Home Explosion

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - The body of an unidentified woman was pulled from the burned-out structure of a home more than 15 hours after an apparent explosion sent debris flying. A man, found injured outside the home by civilian witnesses minutes after the explosion, was flown by medical helicopter to a Denver hospital.

(credit: Trevor Schoelhamer)

Archuleta County Sheriff's Office deputies reportedly heard the explosion at 7:12 p.m. Friday, Undersheriff Derek Woodman stated in a press release posted on Facebook. The deputies estimated the incident's location to be in the Aspen Village subdivision.

At the same time, 911 dispatchers began receiving calls reporting the explosion. One of them, ACSO's Woodman stated, came from a man who claimed to have been inside the home. That man indicated he was one of two people inside it at the time.

The first deputy on scene at 994 Cool Pines Drive found 72-year-old Fred Phillips of Shreveport, Louisiana, outside the perimeter of the structure. Phillips was suffering from severe burns and other trauma, but was conscious and relayed to the deputy that a female remained in the home.

Phillips was taken to Pagosa Mountain Hospital but eventually transported by Flight For Life to Denver. He was last known to be in critical condition.

Firefighters found the woman's body shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the help of a cadaver dog. She was pulled from the home almost an hour later. The weakened condition of the structure prevented authorities from safely recovering her body immediately, ACSO's Woodman indicated.

"The debris field of the structure is very extensive and had hot spots of active fire throughout the night," Woodman wrote. "Pagosa Springs Fire District had crews on scene all night."

A Facebook press release from the Pagosa Fire Protection District said the female is an adult.

The Archuleta County Coroner's Office will announce the woman's identity once notifications of next of kin have been completed.

The home is located about two miles west of Pagosa Springs in unincorporated Archuleta County. The fire department stated that neighboring homes were initially threatened by the fire.

The cause of the explosion remains unknown. ACSO has requested the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for help in that determination.

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