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Denver house explosion victim speaks after losing her dog and home: "Vinny was everything. My dogs were my crew"

House explosion victim speaks after losing her dog and home
House explosion victim speaks after losing her dog and home 03:00

It's been more than a month, but Melissa Banks still cannot shake the memory of seeing her home crumble to pieces.   

"It's the worst thing I could've ever imagined going through," said Banks. "I just moved in there in June. It was coming together, so damn cute." 

It was on Aug. 10 when the Denver Fire Department rushed to the scene of a house explosion in the 400 block of S. Lincoln Street.  


Melissa and her two dogs, Satori and Vinny, were in her room when her neighbor in the building called and told her she smelled gas inside.  

"Everything went black. My brain was trying to wrap my head around exactly what was going on," said Banks. "Smacked by the whole pieces of the house, and I was covered. I was buried alive."  

She says the building collapsed quickly.  

"It took a couple seconds before it uncrumbled and the top half of my body was out, and I was able to pull myself up out of the rocks," said Banks. 


While Banks and Satori were rescued from the rubble, her Bull Terrier Vinny did not survive.  

"Vinny was everything. My dogs were my crew," said Banks. "The whole thing is just really so surreal, so sudden." 

It was a loss to her as much as to Vinny's partner in crime.  

"[They were] automatically two peas in a pod, they were something together," said Banks. "[Satori's] never known life without her brother," said Banks.  

Banks and Satori are now staying in a hotel in downtown Denver, but she says it has been a struggle starting over. 

"It's just so expensive when you start with nothing to have to try to start rebuilding your life," said Banks. "This was 40 years of stuff that I had in my house that's just gone now." 


Friends back home in Kentucky have started an online crowd funding effort to help Banks, while she recovers from the explosion and is out of work taking care of Satori. 

Despite all the loss, she says she is grateful for what she does still have.  

"It's so important to live in the moment and realize what you have going on in the moment. You just never know what can happen," said Banks.  

Denver Fire tells CBS News Colorado they are still investigating the cause of the explosion.  

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