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January 09, 2012 10:07 PM

Neighbor Says Explosion Sounded Like Dull Thud

Harrisburg, SD

Neighbors say it sounded like a dull thud. Yet, they can't believe the destruction left by a home explosion just outside Harrisburg Monday afternoon. 

There are just five homes in the rural development where the explosion happened. And while authorities have not identified the victims, neighbors say the family kept quietly to themselves, which is why Monday's explosion took everyone by surprise.

The smoke could be seen for miles, and within minutes, neighbors say the flames leveled the ranch-style home.

"Sioux Falls was the first crew on scene. The house was pretty much fully engulfed," Harrisburg Fire Chief Bill Fink said. "There were already flames coming through the roof when they got there." 

"I could see flames from the interstate above the trees. And I saw smoke, obviously, but the flames were what scared me," neighbor Justin Zakrzewski said.

From two miles away, Zakrzewski knew there was a one-in-five chance it was his home on fire. He called a neighbor, who told him about the blast. Then, Zakrzewski's fear shifted to his family, who was at home, and the possibility of another explosion.

"I don't have propane, luckily. So, that's what I was worried about when it was going on. They had to shut the propane off which was fueling the fire, which was scary," Zakrzewski. 

Neighbors say a daughter in her 20's pulled her father from the flames. Firefighters say she was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital, while her father was air lifted to a Minneapolis burn unit.

"It's close enough to be scared," said Zakrzewski. "But now that they've got it contained, I'm not too scared."
Fire crews from Harrisburg, Tea and Sioux Falls were all called in to fight the fire, which is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's office.
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