Explosion at house, woman inside rescued

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A daring rescue unfolds just moments before a Henrico house blows up. This comes as firefighters battled hot spots for a second day in a row.

Monday, several brush fires erupted in Henrico's East End, including one near the Antioch Leaning Center on Route 5. Tonight, we're seeing what may have caused some of those fires.

Kathy Vickery isn't quite sure how she ended up like this...with her custom built house, now in ruins.

"God always has a plan, and I don't know what this one is," Kathy said.

Beneath the rubble, she's looking for anything that might remind her of the home that used to be here. Monday, a fire ignited the outdoor propane tank causing a devastating explosion that was seen for miles.

Josh Finney is Kathy's neighbor. He is the hero, having rescued Kathy's homebound mother by kicking in the doors.

"I said, 'we gotta get out of the house, the house is burning!' And she says she couldn't walk! I was like, 'you can't walk!?" Josh explained.

He carried the woman outside, with just seconds to spare. But the problems were only beginning.

"The wind was actually blowing to the north," said neighbor Phil Downey.

Phil realized the flames from the exploding house were on the move.

"This is where we fought it here, in this wooded area here," Phil said.

They spread to a field, and threatened a day care. Even a day later, hot spots smoldered on the crunchy, dry ground.

But at Kathy's house, the flames are finally gone...along with almost everything else. Yet on this day she feels gratitude, because her mother was rescued.

"I thanked him, which doesn't seem like enough," Kathy said.

Andy: Do you think of yourself as a hero? Or just, you're just Josh, that's what Josh does?
Josh: That's not what I do! Once in a lifetime.

There were so many brush fires in Henrico Monday that there are a couple of unanswered questions. Did a brush fire cause the propane tank to explode? Or, was something else burning in the house? Firefighters expect more information on that tomorrow.

People can prevent brush fires by obeying the "burn ban" now in effect. Outdoor fires are legal only between 4 p.m. and midnight. They also must be at least 100 yards away from the woods.

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