A North Whidbey woman whose life is in pieces after an explosion destroyed her entire home is seeking the community’s support.
Around 8:55 p.m. on Friday, June 5, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue responded to a blast from a parked motorhome and an ensuing fire near West Hastie Lake Road, according to Fire Chief John Clark.
None of the crew was injured but the occupant, Angela Kurtz, was severely burned in what was believed to be an explosion fueled by propane.
In about 10 minutes, flames consumed the 30-foot camper in which Angela lived with her three rescue animals, Clark said.
Exact cause is still under investigation, but Clark said he believes Angela may have been trying to light or start a heating unit inside that had a 20-pound propane tank.
Angela was staying on Donna DeBonis’ property. DeBonis, her children and housemates were home when the explosion occurred and rushed outside to help Angela, who emerged from the trailer on fire but had the presence of mind to remove her clothes and stop, drop and roll.
“The explosion actually pushed out one side of the trailer,” Clark said. “We found window glass 97 feet away from the trailer.”
Angela was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She sustained burns on 65 to 75 percent of her body, according to her sister, Lissa Kurtz.
She is currently in critical condition and was placed in a medically induced coma. Lissa said doctors have been able to determine that Angela didn’t suffer any brain or lung damage.
“Her battles have already been so big,” Lissa said.
Angela is a survivor of both breast and skin cancers and just last week celebrated her fifth year anniversary of being cancer-free.
Lissa said her sister had been working hard to remodel her trailer home, which was the first place she had to herself since she was sick.
“She was so proud,” Lissa said.
She described her sister as a devoted vegan with a passion for taking care of rescue animals. Angela’s 10-year-old English bulldog unfortunately didn’t survive the blaze, but her other two pets did.
Her dog Beagan sustained burns and damage to his eyes and was treated by DeBonis, who is an Army veterinarian. Beagan is currently being taken care of by Angela’s family.
Her cat Talyn ran off during the event but DeBonis was able to capture him with a live trap the next day. He also endured some singed whiskers and toe beans, but is continuing to live with DeBonis and her family. DeBonis reported that he is eating well, a good sign of health in animals.
DeBonis is thankful the weather was wet and rainy that night. Kurtz’s trailer was in close proximity to a tree line, which would have caught fire during a drier day.
They had also had horses close to the camper just a few days before, but they had luckily been relocated before Friday night.
Lissa said it has been encouraging to see the positive messages coming in from the people of Whidbey Island. Angela has a long road ahead of her and will be spending the next six to eight months in the hospital.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Angela’s medical expenses, https://gf.me/u/x7up29.
“I consider her to be a best friend,” DeBonis said.
She added that the island does a good job of taking care of people, and the response to this tragedy demonstrates that.