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Man Burned In Big Lake House Explosion Shares His Story

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hours after surviving a house explosion in Big Lake, the victim talked to WCCO about what happened. The home on Hiawatha Avenue was fully engulfed when police arrived.

Burned and bandaged in the burn unit at Hennepin County Medical Center, Rodney Shelton counts his blessings.

"The man upstairs that's all I can think, you know I got really lucky," Shelton said.

A neighbor captured video of the flames moments after the house exploded.

Shelton smelled gas when he returned home around noon. He tried to find the source and was in the kitchen.

"I was looking to see if a burner was turned on or something and then phew! And then all that, just lit up like a ball of flames. Ceiling comes down and I just pushed the stuff out of the way," Shelton said.

The blast blew a window out. That's how Shelton escaped.

"I should have died because not many people survive a house blowing up. I guess it wasn't my time," Shelton said.

He has first degree burns over a portion of his upper body. But said fortunately, his face was somewhat protected.

"My beard, I had a full beard, basically down to here," Shelton said.

Big Lake House Explosion
(credit: Big Lake Police Department)

Shelton's Godchildren live with him every other week with their mom. He's glad they were at school and work. The teens are worried about their dog and two cats. They're still missing.

Shelton remains thankful.

"Very thankful, I know this will all heal. The house will get replaced but I'm just happy to be here," Shelton said.

A Center Point Energy representative said if you smell gas, get out of your home immediately and call 911. And said don't check your cellphone, or flip a switch, as it could ignite the gas.

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

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