Shock, worry felt after near-death accident |

Shock, worry felt after near-death accident

Hans Rosevold has a single expression on his face; one that says he’s happy to be alive.

Hans and Suzanne Rosevold were both injured last week when a natural gas explosion on Andria Drive off Kingsbury Grade left only the garage of their three-bedroom house standing.

Suzanne, 47, broke a bone in her back and fractured her right heel and is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday. Hans, 58, has deep bruises on different parts of his body but is still able to move about.

“We’re lucky. It’s a miracle,” Hans said, standing on the rubble that was his home. “This is the worst part here.”

That worst part began Wednesday morning as Hans began to sort through the wreckage and recover anything of value.

His wife hopes to save a sewing machine given to her by her grandmother. Hans wants the family photographs and a bar he brought from the Philippines when he was stationed there in the Air Force.

“We’re shaken. We’re putting on a nice front, but it’s a nightmare,” Hans said. “We had done so much work on it it was unbelievable. We reconditioned the walls, built bookshelves, redid the kitchen.”

Hans spent 23 years in the Air Force, retiring as a colonel. He said it was ironic that after putting his life on the line many times before, he might have died from an explosion in his own home.

“After 500 combat missions, four or five mortar attacks, 11,000 hours flying then you come home and you’re killed in your kitchen?” he said rhetorically.

Right now the Rosevolds are staying in a hotel in South Shore. They may rent a house in Minden until they get another house built on Andria Drive. Suzanne works as executive director of the Business Council of Douglas County in Minden.

Rich Nicholls, employee of Yonker Construction, the company hired for salvage and cleanup of the house, said he’s seen one other gas explosion but it was propane that ignited and destroyed a home at Mammoth Lakes.

“See how the ceilings are all torn,” Nicholls said of the Rosevold’s house. ” Natural gas is lighter than air, so the blast blew out through the attic on both ends.

The blast also impacted the Rosevolds. Hans said his wife, who was playing a piano in the living room hit the ceiling with her head. He was eating a cold turkey sandwich in the kitchen and was lifted 10 feet in the air and dropped on the front lawn.

Southwest Gas, the company that served the Rosevolds, said a failed section of natural gas pipe caused the explosion. They said they don’t know what ignited the gas, but have sent the section of failed pipe to a Chicago lab and expect test results in a couple of weeks. The explosion occurred close to the gas meter and there was a Southwest leak survey team on the Rosevold property before it occurred.

Despite the explosion, Hans said he and his wife have no desire to move anywhere else because of the beautiful surroundings and kindness of the people.

“The people are so wonderful,” he said. “They all try and help. There’s not much they can do. But we’ve been offered so much help.”

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