An explosion rocked a multi-unit apartment on the 200 block of Fifth Street in Lewiston on Friday shortly before noon, leaving at least one person injured.
Trevor Larimer, 34, and his fiancee, Allison Bonk, 27, were sitting in a second-floor apartment talking about the COVID-19 quarantine when they “felt a huge boom go off that lifted our feet off the floor,” Larimer said.
“We heard the most god-awful scream we ever heard in our life,” Bonk said.
Bonk looked toward the foyer and saw “blood everywhere.”
The couple, who just moved into the apartment and Lewiston three days ago from Twin Falls, then saw a man “running across the street missing half an arm,” Larimer said. “There was a trail of blood.”
Bonk said a woman was helping the man and they appeared to be making their way to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, which is a block away through Pioneer Park from the apartment building.
Bonk called 911 and Larimer grabbed a fire extinguisher and knocked down the flames coming from a couch in the apartment on the main floor where the explosion happened, Larimer said.
Lewiston police arrived on scene at 212 Fifth St. followed by Lewiston firefighters. The fire in the main floor apartment had picked up again and the furniture was “completely engulfed in flames,” Larimer said.
Police and fire were dispatched to the scene at 11:49 a.m. with reports of a fire and explosion.
“Initial reports stated there was fire, an explosion and a lot of blood,” Lewiston Fire Chief Travis Myklebust said. “First arriving units found that there was a person who had left the scene and went to the hospital due to their injuries.”
The name of the injured person and the cause of the explosion weren’t immediately released.
Firefighters made sure the tenants were out of the building and moved away from the building because of reports of an explosion, Myklebust said.
“The main body of the fire was knocked down in a matter of minutes and crews checked to see if the fire extended to any other portions of the building,” Myklebust said.
Four engines, three ambulances, a Lewiston fire battalion chief and fire investigator and Clarkston Fire Department responded to the fire. The damage estimate to the building is unknown until a further structural evaluation can be done, Myklebust said. No other injuries were reported.
The scene was turned over to Lewiston police and the FBI. A bomb squad from Spokane was called in and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on scene Friday afternoon and evening investigating the fire.
Larimer and Bonk are currently in a hotel with their cats because of the explosion that has made their apartment unlivable for the time being.
“We only have smoke damage,” Larimer said. “Our hats are off to local law enforcement and fire departments. They are very professional and our landlord is awesome.”
Wells may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2275.