Couple remembers house explosion during the Floods of 2018

Local News

DES MOINES — In the chaos of the 2018 floods, countless rescue efforts were made. First responders struggled to keep pace. As streets and basements were inundated, one family lost everything. One year later, the Swintons are grateful they weren’t home when their house went up in flames.

That’s because shortly after they were notified they’re house had flooded, their landlord called back saying their house had exploded. “We were not home at the time that it happened; it was a blessing in disguise that we were driving through floodwaters, trying to take care of somebody else’s dog,” said Sam Swinton.

Days after learning their home was destroyed, the Swintons went back to assess some of the damage. Holly Swinton said what really stood out was how far everything was spread out, “Our bathtub ended up across the creek, which is pretty crazy.”

Sam explained how the house exploded, “When the water subsided, that’s when the spark plug and the gas ignited and the flame, I’m guessing, just from looking at the trees was probably a good 30 feet in the air.”

The home they had been living in for two years, and everything they owned, including their pet rabbit, was gone. That’s when Sam found out they had no renter’s insurance. For months they stayed with Holly’s parents while weighing their options. Sam said they had already been looking at purchasing a new house. After the explosion, he said they had to start looking harder.

Holly said this was a fresh start. Now with a new rabbit and a new home, they’ve hit the reset button. All the while, they’re forever grateful they weren’t home when the explosion happened.

“Yeah, I think we would probably have PTSD from it, and be a lot more scared during storms,” Holly said referring to if they had been home.

The Swinton’s neighbors, the Rhoades, saw, and felt, the whole thing happen. Sam says the wall fell on Christina Rhoades. He also says if he was there, he most likely would have been in the basement where he would have been hit with the blast.

Even though the night of the floods was bad for the Swintons, they know it could’ve been far worse. Holly said, “I think we had guardian angels looking over us that night. That’s a for sure thing.”

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