Valley woman, Tiara Del Rio, finally heads home after surviving Peoria house explosion

PEORIA, AZ - A Valley woman is finally back home home after spending four months in the hospital and rehab after surviving a house explosion in Peoria.

The October 2013 blast left 21-year-old Tiara Del Rio and her boyfriend, Beau Zimbro, with severe burns on more than half their bodies.

Authorities said Del Rio lit a candle inside her home near 79 th Avenue and Cactus Road and then everything ignited.

 Authorities believe a broken natural gas line may be to blame while the home was undergoing renovations.

Now, months later, Del Rio has had enough of hospitals.

"I've been in the hospital for three and a half months. And coming here, it's like too good to be true," she said during her last day at a rehabilitation facility. Del Rio pushed herself through her last week of rehab to the point where they let her go home early.

"I'm going home today. And that's just how it's going to be," she said laughing.

While the burn marks are still there, her new, strong and refreshed skin is beginning to peek through.

Doctors from the Arizona Burn Center used an experimental procedure called "re-cell" on Del Rio. It's a skin spray that uses a little skin to cover a lot of surface.

Del Rio said she can't stop itching.

"The itching is actually a good thing because it means my skin is healing," she said.

Del Rio packed up her picture frames, new clothes and her sock monkey--all of the things her family and friends brought to make her hospital room feel a little more like home.

"My boyfriend is right there so I have him close to me, and my best friend is right there," she said, pointing at her picture frames that were placed near the bed.

For her trip home she wore her ruby red slippers, sparkling just like Dorothy's from the Wizard of Oz.

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home," she kept repeating.

But before she made it there, she stopped by her old house just a few blocks away from her parent's place—to see what was left after the explosion.

"It gives me peace of mind just to know that I got out of there, it's what keeps the nightmares and scares away from me," she said.

While challenges still remain, Del Rio is looking forward to life becoming normal again.

"It's going to take some time, but it will eventually happen," she said.

Del Rio said she still can't drive and has to stay out of the sun. She'll continue to go to rehab to strengthen her arms and legs.

"I don't take [life] for granted. When I look at other patients at the burn center, I just want to tell them that everything's going to be okay, that they will survive and get through it."




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