Five days after an explosion leveled a Peoria home, we're hearing from the family of one of the two people seriously hurt in the blast.
Rescuers say the couple caught in the blast was lucky to survive, but they both have extensive injuries. They’re being treated at the Maricopa County Medical Center Burn Unit.
The explosion happened Wednesday night near 79th Avenue and Cactus Road. Twenty-one-year-old Tiara Del Rio and her boyfriend Beau Zimbro made it out alive, but have extensive burns on more than half their bodies.
ABC15 spoke exclusively with Tiara’s mom, Christina, about the blast. She got the call just minutes after it happened. \
She says the only thing going through her mind was if her daughter was alive.
"That's all I was thinking," Christina said.
Christina says she knew her daughter’s house was on fire, but had no idea it exploded. Her worst fears kept running through her mind.
“Not knowing if I was going to see her again or hear or talk to her,” she said crying.
Tiara’s brother Ryan, stationed overseas, got the same call. The Red Cross helped pay for his flight home to be by her side.
“I told her, ‘Hey, your brother's here. I'm here.’ And I grabbed her arm and she started to... her heart beat started to raise up a lot more and I took that she knew I was here," Ryan said.
More than half of Tiara’s body was badly burned including her face, arms and hands, all the way to her feet.
Doctors put her in a coma so she didn't suffer. Christina was not able to recognize her own daughter.
"I had to search for something on her body to find out it was her,” Christina said.
It was a matching tattoo she shares with mom, a double heart that means, “She has my heart and I have hers,” said Christina. It's on the only part of her arm that was not affected by the flames.
was likely caused by natural gas line, possibly broken during home renovations in the past few weeks.
Tiara tried lighting a candle just seconds before the blast. She and her boyfriend Beau were the only ones inside.
“The house exploded, and they're both burning, and he picked her up and carried her out," Christina says of Beau.
The two collapsed in the street and medics flew them to the hospital. Christina calls him a lifesaver.
“If he wasn't there, my daughter wouldn't be here," she says.
Both have a long road ahead. Beau has no insurance and was also burned on more than half his body. Tiara's already had a blood transfusion and getting ready for her third surgery. Mom, is holding out hope.
“And I told her, ‘You know mom loves you right?’ And she nodded. Then I said, 'you love me too right?' and she nodded, and I think that's the last time I got her to acknowledge me," Christina said.
Family members have set up several fundraisers online to help pay for Tiara and Beau's medical bills.
There are also two car washes coming up. Both are on Saturday, October 26. One will be at 10 a.m. on the northeast corner of 59th Avenue and Peoria. The other at 9 a.m. on the corner of 75th Avenue and Peoria.
Investigators say they’re still looking into exactly what caused the blast.
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