Two women were severely burned in a possible gas explosion Saturday at a home in north Minneapolis.
Neighbor Joel Doeyou said he was talking to a friend on the sidewalk nearby when he heard a big boom. He turned and saw the front window frame and an attached air conditioner blown into the front yard of the house at 4314 Morgan Av. N.
He said two women were inside, a woman who lived there and a guest.
"They were screaming because they were burning," said Doeyou, 52.
By the time the two women got out of the house, their clothes were burned off.
Doeyou and his friend helped them across the street to a grassy strip by Patrick Henry High School.
"They were in terrible pain," Doeyou said.
"She kept saying, 'My house, My house. I want my house.'" he said.
The two women were in critical condition with extensive burns when they arrived at Hennepin County Medical Center, said Cherie Penn, an assistant fire chief.
She said neighbors called 911 to report the fire about 12:25 p.m.
The blast and fire gutted the small one-story white house. The north wall by the living room was pushed out off the foundation and a few pieces of aluminum siding and venetian blinds were melted.
On Saturday afternoon pink insulation littered the front yard, along with a charred sofa and a skateboard. A white teddy bear lay in the side yard by a window. Leaves were singed on a walnut tree standing by the blown out window.
Firefighters rescued a pet cat from the house, Penn said.
Centerpoint Energy was called to the scene but found no leaks on its line outside the house, said spokeswoman Becca Virden.
Officials said a new gas stove may have been improperly installed, but the fire's cause hasn't yet been determined.
Neighbors identified one of the women as Elizabeth V.M. Mulay. They said she lived in the rented house with her two young boys.
The boys were out with relatives, Doeyou said. He said the boys' father arrived and said his sons were with their grandfather.
Doeyou said the family moved in earlier this year.
Jim Adams • 952-707-9996