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Explosion triggers fire in van with five people inside in Murray

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-29 00:22:12-05

MURRAY, Utah -- A van exploded in Murray Friday afternoon, and a witness recounted rushing in to help save five people and a dog inside the van.

The explosion could be heard from more than half a mile away, and flames could be seen shooting up higher than the 2-story apartment building at Westwood Apartments.

Andrea Daynes lives in Westwood Apartments, at 2 East Regal Street and 4690 South, and said she heard the explosion from inside. She said she looked out and saw a fireball in the sky.

"I had the door open and all of a sudden, it just exploded right when I was walking out the door," she recounted. "I looked around the corner, and it was nothing but flames," she said.

Stephen Love was standing in the parking lot of the apartment complex, when the van caught fire and exploded behind him. He said he ran up to the vehicle, as 5 people and a dog were trying to escape.

"I was helping them get out of the car," Love said. "Some of them were on fire and stuff. It was pretty scary."

Apartment residents began to evacuate, fearing the flames would spread to the building. Love said his girlfriend was running down the street to get away.

"[I] went upstairs and got my roommate and her kid and my dog because we live really close, in case the apartment caught on fire," he said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. The apartment complex is across the street from the Murray Fire station. The van was destroyed and a propane tank sat near it, blown open.

According to Murray Fire Assistant Chief Chad Pascua, two people received minor injuries but the other three were not injured.

He indicated that they weren't sure what the group of people was doing in the van, or how the fire started.