Man escapes house explosion in Big Lake, Minnesota

- It happened in an instant. A normal house in a quiet neighborhood turned into a pile of smoking rubble.

"Nothing's left. Its not even a home anymore," said one of the home's residents Kelly Stowell.

The 15-year-old was in school when a friend told her a home on Hiawatha Avenue had burned to the ground.

It turned out to be the home she shares with her mom, her brother, and her godfather, Rodney Shelton, every other week.

She was supposed to be back there in a couple of hours.

"I came out of school crying. Its just really hard and different seeing this all happened in a day," Stowell said.

Neighbors say Shelton was home when the house exploded, blowing him into the backyard.

"He said he smelled gas. Opened the door to let some fresh air in and investigate and when he opened the door, the next thing he knew he was picking himself up out in the backyard," said Randy MacLeod, one of several neighbors who rushed to Shelton's aid.

The blast caused the home to catch fire. At one point, flames reached 60 feet in the air.

"It was licking the trees with these flames and stuff. It got pretty intense pretty fast," next door neighbor Al Jones said.

Crews from Centerpoint Energy cut off natural gas to the home and spent the afternoon trying to pinpoint what caused the explosion.

"If you smell gas, leave quickly on foot. Taking your neighbors with you. Then call 911 from safe distance. Don't do anything to cause a spark. That means, call on cell phone or open a door because because something did ignite here today," Centerpoint Energy spokesperson Becca Virden said.

Stowell and her family lost most of their belongings along with a couple of that were burned in the fire.

Even though Shelton has burns on his arms, neck and face, his goddaughter says it could've been much worse.

"Its suprising. I didn't know something like this would happen so fast and so quick," Stowell said.

At last check, Shelton was in satisfactory condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.

His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The Red Cross is helping the Stowell's with temporary shelter and clothes until they can get on their feet.

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