House explosion sends one woman to hospital
by Ross DuBray
An explosion last Wednesday at a home on Jefferson Street sent one occupant to the hospital in critical condition.
At approximately 1:15 p.m., Gail Garreau was attempting to light a gas stove when gas fumes ignited causing the explosion. The explosion rippled through the community as the concussion of the blast was felt throughout the town.
At the nearby Super 8 Motel, Zach Ducheneaux was sitting in a meeting at the hotel conference room when the explosion occurred.
“It was very loud and just shook the building,” said Ducheneaux.
When the group realized that a house blew up, Ducheneaux and others at the meeting ran over to the house, which was about 100 yards away.
According to Ducheneaux, initially they didn’t see anybody, but then somebody yelled out that there was someone inside and ran to her.
“I don’t know who that kid was, but he was pretty darn brave,” said Ducheneaux. “The kid just jumped right in there.”
As the flames grew, the group carried her to safety away from the house before the ambulance arrived.
Garreau was taken to the Cheyenne River Health Center and was airlifted to Sanford Health Center in Bismarck, ND.
According to CRST Acting Police Chief Chad Olson, Garreau suffered a compound fracture of the left tibia and fibia near her ankle along with her right fibia and tibia, and suffered a laceration to the chin.
The Eagle Butte Volunteer Fire Department along with the BIA Fire Crew responded to the scene. The explosion blew out the west wall of the home, which came to rest on the house next door. As the fire grew, the wall ignited and started burning the neighboring house.
The fire department was able to control the flames and prevented the house next door from burning, however the Garreau house was a total loss. Debris from the explosion littered the area, as insulation was blown into neighboring yards and into the street. A kitchen chair came to rest on the house next door and a roaster oven landed in a nearby tree.
According to Garreau’s husband, Melvin Garreau Jr., Garreau is now out of ICU and is listed in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
The investigation into the fire was being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire and Explosives and the CRST Law Enforcement Department. The ATF has ruled the explosion was caused by propane.