Isanti County woman on the road to recovery after house explosion Monday
A woman is in the hospital recovering from severe burns after her home went up in flames in Wyanett Township near Princeton on Monday.
The family explained a new stove was installed at the home recently and they believe the fire could have been because of a gas leak.
“It’s stressful,” Sean Olene, the victim’s son, said.
On Monday morning, Olene got a phone call from his sister no one wants to hear.
“She said the house exploded. Mom was inside,” Olene said.
Right off Highway 95 and Puma Street in Princeton, fire officials got a call around 9:20 a.m. Monday about a possible home explosion.
“It turns out she had gone into the kitchen and she heard a popping sound,” Olene said. “That’s when it ignited. She tried to go out the back door, but couldn’t get out and had to turn and run out the front door.”
Olene’s mom, Valerie Zdenek, was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with severe burns.
Her husband was at work when it happened.
“Burns on her hands and her ankles were pretty severe. They had to cut the rings off of her fingers. They had to had to shave her head because her head got burned,” Olene said.
Between the smoke and water damage at the house, the family thinks it’s a total loss.
But Valerie’s visitors, her feline family, are still sticking around hoping she’ll come back.
“Since I’ve been alive, cats have been part of the family. Whether they are indoor cats or … a lot of outdoor cats,” Olene said. “She would pick up strays and tend to them and care for them.”
After nearly losing his mom, Olene said he won’t lose sight of what truly matters.
“With my mom, I’m going to make more of an effort to maybe go see her wherever she ends up a little more often,” he said. “This was shocking, to say the least.”
Olene said one of the cats was severely burned so she’s recovering at the vet. Valerie’s daughter is also caring for two cats.
The family is fundraising for medical expenses, lost items and finding a new home for Valerie and her husband.