A series of explosions in a garage left a Nampa great-grandmother devastated by burns that covered 90 percent of her body late Thursday afternoon.
She later died from those injuries at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Nampa Fire Marshall Phil Roberts said Friday.
The explosions happened so quickly that Roberts said it was lucky six of the seven residents, including four children who had been in the basement, got out without injury. The 92-year-old woman was the only person caught in the garage, where the fire damage was centered.
The owner of the home on the 400 block of East Rocklan Court had just been mowing his lawn and was refilling the lawnmower when some fuel spilled and something in the garage ignited it, Roberts said. The homeowner fled the garage through the back door.
Across the neighborhood, an off-duty firefighter heard the explosion, asked his daughter to call 911 and rushed to assist. Unfortunately, the great-grandmother also heard the explosion and checked the garage to see what was going on, Roberts said. That’s when the fire flashed again, critically injuring her and trapping her in the garage, he said.
“When you have a fuel-set fire, it's almost instantaneous,” Roberts said.
When the off-duty firefighter arrived on scene, the homeowner opened the front door and said he couldn’t find his mother-in-law. They determined she had gone into the garage and made several attempts to rescue her but were repelled by the raging fire.
A Nampa fire crew arrived and knocked the blaze down within seven minutes, Roberts said. The severely burned woman was rushed to Saint Alphonsus in Boise.
The garage was badly damaged but the house, which sustained some smoke damage, is still habitable, Roberts said.
The names of the residents have not been released. The fire was deemed a “terrible, extremely terrible accident,” Roberts said.