Two injured in explosion recovering

CNJ staff photo: Tonjia Rolan An explosion at H20 Express, 1120 N. Prince Street, blew the building apart Saturday and injured two people.

Tonjia Rolan

Ed Sabia stopped by H2O Express on Saturday to help longtime friend Ken Urban fix a water pump.

Marynell Urban, Ken’s mother, stopped by later to invite the two to dinner.

Next thing the three knew, their world was literally turned upside down as a explosion tore through the business at 1120 N. Prince St. about 6:30 p.m. The explosion was heard and felt for several city blocks.

“All of a sudden I was in the air,” said Sabia from his home Monday. “The blast threw me 15 feet into a wall and then a light fixture came down on top of me.”

Sabia was treated at Plains Regional Medical Center for two wounds to his head, and is now recovering at home.

“I don’t really know what happened. Me and Kenny were there about two hours before the explosion. We didn’t smell any gas or anything like that. There’s nothing there to explode.”

Ken Urban was buried under rubble and sustained burns to his hands, forehead and face, Sabia said. Urban was flown to Lubbock for treatment, according to the police report.

“I just talked to Marynell,” Sabia said. “Kenny is alert and doing real good. He’s getting skin grafts today.” According to Sabia, Urban’s most severe burns were to his hands.

Other than singed hair, Marynell Urban was uninjured in the blast, according to Sabia.

“The good Lord wanted us around a little bit longer,” Sabia said. “We could have all been fatalities.”

Adjacent buildings did not sustain any damage, from the observations of those owners, but the front of H2O Express was lined with glass from windows blown out and the top roof had curved upward from the force of the blast.

Clovis battalion chief Mike Nolen said Saturday at the scene it appeared the blast originated in the back of the plant near refrigerant units. It blew materials an estimated 20 to 25 feet to business offices near the front of the plant.

H20 Express sells and distributes reverse osmosis water and bagged ice to the public and grocery and convenience stores in Clovis.

Fire Marshal Allan Silvers said Monday an investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing and could last a week.

Pat Lawson felt the explosion eight blocks away at his house on the 400 block of Sheldon Street.

“It felt like a tree hit the house,” Lawson said.