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Marines First-Responders After Explosion

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COLEVILLE, CA – Amid a tragic explosion at a Marine housing base, there is also heroism. A duplex exploded at the Coleville Military Housing Base Friday night, leaving a woman dead and sending two others to hospitals. One of the injured is in critical condition at the UC Davis burn center.

Marine Dean Beutz’s house is near the one that exploded. This house is now one of at least nine that can not be lived in. The house has cracked walls and broken glass everywhere. “If she was down here (where the glass fell), I don’t even want to fathom what would happen to her,” he said of his daughter.

“It felt like a five-hundred pound bomb going off,” he said.  After the explosion, people rushed to help. Beutz said he pulled people from the burning wreckage.  “Combat training kicked in and I just went on straight instinct,” he said.

Beutz said he was thrown twenty feet inside his home by the blast. He then went to help others.  “We beat fire rescue, police officers into the scene so you had Marines, just like you do in combat running into the fire versus away from the fire,” Col. Phillip Chandler said.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the explosion. A military official said there are propane lines used for appliances.  Despite loss, there is gratitude for those who acted with a moment’s notice. “I don’t want to live anywhere else except where I’m surrounded by Marines because I’m so impressed with the quick response and I’m very proud to be part of the Marine family,” Julie Beutz, Dean’s wife, said.

Nearly fifty families were put up in hotels after the blast. Due to empty facilities on the base, most have returned.  38-year-old Lori Hardin was killed in the explosion. The military said she was in a home next-door to the one that blew up. The two injured were in the home that exploded.

At the base, military members are trained for mountain warfare situations.

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