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Man Recovering After House Explodes


August 31, 2007

Thieves broke into Earl Thelander’s Onawa home on Tuesday, stealing copper pipes and starting a gas leak. When Thelander turned on a fan to clear the fumes, the house exploded, burning over 80 percent of his body.

The 80-year-old called for help from his cell phone, but then decided to drive himself to the hospital. Thelander remains in critical condition, clinging to life.

Earl’s sons say they don’t have time to be angry at the thieves, they’re just hoping their dad pulls through.

“Tonight we’re just hoping that his kidneys and lungs keep functioning. You know it’s definitely a struggle at this point,” Brad Thelander said.

Police say the copper taken from Thelanders’s home was worth only $10.

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