SMITHDALE, Miss. — In a story Sept. 4 about an explosion that destroyed a house in Amite County, Mississippi, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Smithdale is east of Summit. Smithdale is west of Summit. The story also referred to the house as a two-story structure. The building was a two-bedroom, one-story house.
A corrected version of the story is below:
81-year-old survives explosion that levels Amite Co house
An 81-year-old man survived an explosion that destroyed his house, driving boards into the ground and rattling houses miles away
SMITHDALE, Miss. — An 81-year-old man survived an explosion that destroyed his house, driving boards into the ground and rattling houses miles away.
Elmo Gilchrist is in a burn unit in Jackson, 70 miles away. Son-in-law Darryl Callen of Smithdale, west of Summit, told the Enterprise-Journal (http://bit.ly/2bM9kWZ). Merit Health Central spokeswoman Robyn Pollack confirmed that he is being treated there, but said Sunday that she could not comment about his condition.
The two-bedroom, one-story wood-frame house blew up when Gilchrist went to light his stove Saturday morning to cook some sausage, Callen said.
Pieces of tin roofing landed in the top of a nearby pine tree, about 40 feet up. The blast knocked out most of the windows of Gilchrist’s minivan. Amite County Civil Defense Director Grant McCurley said he found debris more than a half-mile away. Cliff White, who lives about five miles away, said it shook his house, leaving pictures askew on the wall.
Callen said he heard about the explosion when he stopped for coffee on his way to work. Someone told him the location, and he raced to the house next door to his own.
When he saw the damage, he said, “I was waiting to see a body bag, and there he is — the firemen are walking him out of the back of the thing and sitting him on the back of the fire truck.”
Callen said Gilchrist’s head and arms were burned, and doctors were worried about smoke inhalation.
McCurley said first responders found Gilchrist under debris in his motorized scooter, calling for help.
The force of the explosion indicates that it may have been a propane tank, McCurley said, noting that t the State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the explosion.
“There were no walls standing when I got on scene and there was a thick concentration of fire all throughout the structure. The majority of it was all on fire,” McCurley said.