Neighbor of house explosion: Never expected anything like this

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Jeremiah Hatcher

A 77-year-old woman was airlifted to UAB Hospital Friday afternoon in the wake of an explosive fire in Ralph that neighbors say sounded like a bomb.

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit Commander Capt. Jack Kennedy said foul play is not suspected in this incident, and the victim told first responders that the explosion happened when she made an attempt at lighting her oven’s pilot light.

The explosive blaze, which happened on Shiloh Road in Ralph, was strong enough that it shattered neighbors’ windows as far as a mile down the road. Neighbors reported the big boom, followed by clouds of black smoke rising from the property around 2 p.m.

Neighbor Josh Manning said he never expected anything of this sort to happen within his community. He and his family were enjoying their afternoon together when the explosion happened.

Kennedy said VCU is involved in the investigation because of the seriousness of the injuries that resulted from the explosion.

There’s been no update on the victim’s condition since Friday, and no update on the fire investigation.