PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. - A Prince Frederick couple is recovering after their home exploded with them inside. FOX 5 has learned exclusively that one of their dogs, a Chihuahua mix, did not survive the blast. Their other dog, a basset hound, ran when the explosion happened, but was found alive and safe hours later.
Bill and Tacy Gash had just arrived home just after 11 a.m. Monday when neighbors tell FOX 5 they smelled gas. They checked the upstairs and made their way to the basement where the smell was the strongest. Before they had a chance to do anything else, they were thrown in a violent explosion.
"We heard this boom," said Sharri Lyster.
She and her husband Pete were gardening outside when it happened.
"We turned and looked and the porch in the front of the house came out," she said.
Sharri Lyster called 911 as her husband ran over to help, finding Bill Gash in the rubble and badly burned.
"He just looks up at my husband and he says, 'I think I'm going to die, Pete.' And Peter said, 'Not today, not on my watch,'" Sharri described.
Bill Gash was found in the garage. His wife was thrown to the backyard. The Lysters had only moments to get them out before the flames engulfed the house.
"I said, 'Bill, I can carry you, but we gotta get out of here,'" Sharri recalled.
Pete frantically searched for the Gashes' 18-year-old daughter as Sharri helped Tacy and Bill out safely. It turned out their daughter was not home at the time.
Tacy had burns on just 10 percent of her body while Bill had burns on 40 percent of his. Everyone agrees it is a miracle they are alive. But it doesn't take away the sting of losing precious keepsakes, such as everything their daughter grew up with.
"She said, 'My baby pictures, my grandpa's guitar,'" explained Sharri. "And I said, 'We will get you a new guitar.' She says, 'You cannot get me that guitar. I can't get Grandpa's guitar back.' So they are going to need everyone to come around about them. But this neighborhood is good for that."
A GoFundMe page is collecting money for food, clothing and furniture to help the Gash family rebuild. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/the-gash-family-fire-relief-fund