RACINE — At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Nancy Smith woke up suddenly to the sound of an explosion.
“It was all of a sudden this boom and then flames,” Smith said.
Smith, 69, who lives at 1400 Melvin Ave., awoke to find her deck blown approximately 10 feet from the exterior of her house, according to a Racine Fire Department news release. Smith, her daughter and her three grandchildren reacted quickly, calling 911 so firefighters could extinguish several spot fires on the back of the house.
“They were here so quickly,” Smith said. “They had it out almost immediately. They were great.”
The explosion was so loud that it woke up many of Smith’s neighbors.
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“Our neighbors came running,” she said. “Across the street, it shook their house.”
One neighbor who heard the explosion was Jim Palmer, 62, who lives on the block behind Smith.
“I woke up to a loud bang in the middle of the night all of a sudden,” he said. “It rattled the house and rattled the windows.”
According to the news release, the fire caused approximately $2,500 in damage to the home, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Smith mentioned that the fire was being investigated as possibly intentional, but Racine Police Sgt. Ryan Comstock could only confirm that the department was investigating the fire.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Smith has contacted her insurance and corresponded with We Energies, which helped restore power to the home. Smith’s grandchildren are staying with a relative, as the house still has some lingering fumes from the explosion.
Mostly, Smith was thankful that no one was hurt.
“It could have really been so much worse,” she said.