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Arizona explosion survivor: 'Today has got to be better than yesterday'

Posted at 7:59 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 05:33:55-04

CHANDLER — Glenn Jordan was working alone inside All American Eyeglass Repair when he heard the boom and saw the flash.

"I remember getting hit in the head," Jordan told ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius on the one year anniversary of the Chandler strip mall explosion. "My thought is that I'm on fire, so I just went back to that third-grade thing: stop, drop, and roll."

Glenn climbed through the shattered glass and got on the ground.

"I looked at my hands," Jordan said. "I could see all the skin was gone, so I just held them up and held them there."

The explosion on August 26, 2021, at Ray and Rural roads collapsed the roof at Platinum Printing and damaged the eyeglass shop and several other businesses. Authorities determined the blast was caused by a leak in a nearby natural gas line made of Driscopipe 8000, which is a type of pipe with a history of premature degradation in hot desert environments.

Related: Map shows clusters of past Driscopipe gas leaks in Arizona

Jordan, 59, is a husband, father, and grandfather. He was burned over 40 percent of his body. Three other victims, Dillon Ryan, Andrew Ryan, and Parker Milldebrandt worked at the printing shop.

Jordan recalls the doctors and nurses waiting outside the hospital burn unit.

"The back doors of the ambulance open, and I can see the visual of them."

That's the last thing he remembered for nearly four weeks. Jordan said he was in a coma for 26 days and in the hospital for 50 days.

He remembers the nurse when he opened his eyes.

"I said, 'Am I going to live?' And she came over closer to me and she goes, 'We're gonna do everything to make sure that you live,'" Jordan said.

The former mountain climber, cross-fit enthusiast, and softball league player put his athletic intensity into recovery even though he said he often felt like a three-year-old in physical therapy.

"They're going to grab little pieces of foam to see if you can grab it and squeeze it and even hold it in your hand between your fingers without dropping," Jordan said.

With a raspy voice from the vocal cord damage, Jordan explained how he had to relearn how to live his life.

"Today has got to be better than yesterday, and I don't want to look too far ahead," Jordan said.

Jordan said he wanted to tell his story in the hope that change comes to prevent future gas leaks and explosions.

"I don't want you or any person in the media to be sitting in front of someone and have to ask them any of the questions you just asked me," Jordan said.

Got a news tip? Email ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius at Melissa.Blasius@abc15.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.