Family of victim in St. Paul home explosion: 'It's unbelievable that he came out alive'

November 24, 2018 06:21 PM

Investigators in St. Paul are still trying to determine the official cause of an explosion that leveled a home on the east side on Friday morning.

The blast sent the homeowner, 80-year-old John Lundahl, to Regions hospital after first responders pulled him from inside of the home. A hospital spokesperson said he remains in critical condition.


Richard and Jeanie Lundahl, John's brother and sister-in-law, said he suffered burns to his face and arms. He also has a broken arm and pelvis.

But despite his injuries, Jeanie Lundahl said he is lucky to be alive.

"I don't know how anybody could have survived anything like that," his sister-in-law said in an interview Saturday.

On Friday, fire officials said they suspected a gas leak caused the explosion, that sent a fireball into the sky and debris flying at least 40 feet from the home. 

RELATED: 12 people displaced after home explosion in St. Paul

Jeanie Lundahl, who spends the winter in California with her husband, said they got the call that something was wrong on Friday morning.

"Our granddaughter had driven down there and she said it was Uncle John's house and we thought, 'oh my Lord,'" Jeanie said. 

Family members say John lives alone in the home that's been in the family for nearly 90 years. His sister-in-law says he's active for his age and isn't slowing down.

"It's hard convincing him that he's going to be 81-years-old," Jeanie said. "He's constantly working in his backyard, just hauling in dirt, doing whatever."

St. Paul fire officials said 11 other people were displaced as a result of the blast. Two homes and a nearby business were condemned.


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Kirsten Swanson

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