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2 dead, woman severely burned after large gas line fire near Coolidge

Coolidge Fire
Holly Schriener 1.jpg
Posted at 6:28 AM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 14:01:11-04

COOLIDGE, AZ — Officials say two people are dead and one woman was severely burned after a large gas line fire near Coolidge.

People in the area say they heard a large explosion Sunday morning before seeing a ball of fire and plumes of smoke near Vail and Randolph roads.

When emergency crews arrived on scene, they found a large fire caused by a natural gas pipeline.

Michael Johnson

People as far away as Casa Grande also reported seeing plumes of smoke.

Coolidge police say the explosion caught a nearby home on fire. Officials say a burn victim, later identified as Rosalina Alvarez, was located outside the home after she escaped through a window. Police say Alvarez was airlifted to the hospital with severe burns to 50% of her body .

When first responders went inside the home, they located two deceased bodies that are believed to be Luis Alvarez and his 14-year-old daughter Valeria. Police say the Pinal County Medical Examiner will confirm the identities.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire. Police say they are treating this incident as a homicide.

Police tell ABC15 it is routine to treat cases like these as homicides because there were no witnesses, but police do not suspect foul play at this time.

State Route 87 was closed in both directions at milepost 128 south of Coolidge due to the fire but has since reopened, according to ADOT.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with medical and funeral costs.