MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Western Wisconsin family survived the impossible. In late February, the Plourde family home exploded near River Falls.
Now, the family wants everyone to know that a $30 device could have prevented the explosion.
On a sunny Wisconsin day, the Plourde family is trying to make light of a heavy situation.
"Oh, and there's the remote. We always have trouble finding the remote," joked Angela Plourde, sifting through a pile of rubble that used to be her home.
They're having trouble distinguishing up from down as their house is blown apart. It's all because of what happened Feb. 23. Around 6 on a Saturday night, the Plourde home blasted off its foundation and ignited into flames. A neighbor's camera caught the aftermath.
Of all places for Tony and Angie to be when this explosion happened, they were actually in their garage, turning it into a Vikings game room.
"I was putting a light up and boom – out went the lights. That's the last thing I remember," Tony Plourde recalls.
Tony and Angie were in the only part of the home that was intact. One son wasn't home. Their other son, Cole, had walked away from his basement bedroom moments before.
"The entire floor just came up in front of me and I flew up and I dropped into the bottom floor. I just ran out screaming," Cole said.
"Everything went black and we were just pushed back, and I could hear him screaming and I couldn't get to him cause there was like rubble all over my legs," Angie said.
Tony had a broken sternum, but their family was whole.
"It's a miracle, that's what I would say, that's what everyone says," Tony said.
A miracle that rocked the family and rattled the neighbors like Jody Nyquist.
"That's the miracle of it all. We are so grateful," Nyquist said.
The insurance adjuster said they'd never seen anyone survive an explosion like this. It appears the blast happened because cold air caused a propane leak, a leak Tony later found out could have been prevented with a natural gas detector, which also detects propane.
"Yup, $30 could have saved this house and a lot of headache and pain and suffering and everything else," Tony said.
It's too late for their house, but the Plourdes hope it isn't for others. Despite all their losses, they were saved thanks to a home renovation and the hometown team.
"The Vikings may have saved us as many heartbreaks as it's been," Tony laughed.
Tony said he did have insurance and wants to remind everyone to take a close look at their policy. Neighbors have started a GoFundMe to try and help the family compensate for what insurance won't cover. They plan to rebuild on the same land.
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