Blast Victim Smelled Gas, Reported It

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Bulldozers were working to remove the pile of debris that was Lucinia Tolliver's home on 1905 Navajo Lane Thursday. How the 81-year old blast victim made it out at all, is a miracle to everyone around.

"I'm just very hopeful that she's okay," Steve Moulin said. Moulin lives on SW Arrowhead, where he happened to walk his dog that Monday, past the house where the gas line was hit.

"When I got up to what I call the sprinkler house," he said "Everything was on fire, tremendously on fire, and I'd seen this lady trying to get up. She was knocked down."

"So I said 'Oh my gosh, there's a lady over there,' so I jumped over the fence, then there was a K-Gas employee, jumped over there with me," he recounted.

Moulin fell, but the Kansas Gas Service employee was able to throw Tolliver over his shoulder and carry her away from the flames toward his colleagues nearby.

" Her hair was burned off on this side," Moulin recalled. "And her hands looked like she had on rubber gloves, but it was actually skin."

Tolliver was in shock, Moulin said. But she did reveal one detail that might have helped saved her life that day.

"She told me the gas odor was getting strong, so she stepped out for a bit."

What's more, she - in addition to the contractor who had cut the gas line - called to report it.

"She told me that she had an appliance repairman come out to look at her stove. It was an electric stove, she told me," Moulin said. "And he advised her that he heard a strong odor of gas. I know she called then and told them about the gas leak."

It is not clear at what time Tolliver made the call. She remains in serious but stable condition at KU Medical Center.

The Kansas Corporation Commission has opened an investigation into the incident.