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One Victim Talks About House Explosion

August 24, 2010, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

One Victim Talks About House Explosion
MENNO, SD - In addition to the Menno woman killed in a house explosion, two other people were hurt in the blast.  Gail Guthmiller's next door neighbor, Gerald Schaeffer was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. But he says his neighbor's death is a major loss to the town of Menno. 

Schaeffer, who is out of the hospital and doing okay, says Monday night he was just getting ready for bed when Guthmiller's house exploded. 

"I turned around and looked out the window and the night just turned to bright orange," Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer doesn't remember the initial blast, but recalls seeing lots of flames. He has several cuts from the flying glass and debris, but his main concern was for his family.  After making sure they were okay, Schaeffer went outside to check on the damage and a neighbor he calls irreplaceable. 

"She was warm and always had a smile and anytime you walked by her place, she would always say hi and we'd talk to her," Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer says Guthmiller had only lived in the house for a few years, but in a town where everyone knows everyone, he too got to know her very well. That's why he's struggling to express his feelings. 

"Great loss.  I'm happy she didn't suffer.  Sometimes people go through things like this and they suffer.  She didn't suffer.  It's a great loss; she'll be really missed around here," Schaeffer said.

The other victim was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital.

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