Woman found dead after explosion at American Fork home

Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.
Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.

AMERICAN FORK — One woman was found dead following an explosion and fire at a duplex in American Fork Wednesday morning.

Firefighters received calls about the explosion near 300 E. Main around 5:50 a.m. More than 20 vehicles responded to the call, and the fire was extinguished, said American Fork Police Chief Cameron Paul.

Officials said one woman was found dead after the fire was extinguished, and American Fork Fire Battalion Chief Brandon Boshard said another woman was safely evacuated from the duplex. He said he believes there were only two occupants in the building — one in each unit — but they will continue to search once it is safe to enter the structure.

“There is debris everywhere,” he said. “There’s many homes and other duplexes in the area with heavy damage.”

Several neighbors described being woken by the blast early Wednesday morning.

“The walls shook. We heard a loud explosion. A loud boom, and I almost fell out of bed because I was so startled by it,” said Jordan Haight. “We thought it was like an earthquake or something.”

Steve Landeen said he “felt this shockwave immediately followed by a thump; like a boom.”

Boshard said a pet dog was also discovered safe, a few hours after the initial response, when the canine walked out of the structure on its own.

“When he came out of that house, I was like, ‘Where did he come from?’” Boshard said. “It’s unbelievable. Like he was wet, covered in insulation and debris.”

Crews are still working to identify the cause of the fire, and officials have not released the identity of the woman who was killed.

Several nearby houses were damaged, and many were covered in debris.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Haight said of the aftermath. “I mean when I was in California — the fires, there’s ash all around, but nothing as big as this.”

This story may be updated.

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A police officer talks to people near the scene of a fatal explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
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Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.
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Mark Nielson picks up one of many pieces of insulation that fell on his deck from a nearby explosion in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
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Jordan Haight talks about being woken up by the sound of a nearby explosion and thinking it might have been an earthquake or their water heater exploding in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
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Pieces of insulation cover a neighborhood near the scene of a fatal explosion in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
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Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.
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Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.
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Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.
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Emergency responders work at the scene of an explosion at a duplex in American Fork on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. One woman was found dead.