Robert Harrington is lucky and thankful he and his wife are alive.

A retired pipefitter, Harrington attempted to light the pilot light of a propane wall heater for a small apartment about 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, on his 15-acre property east of Stockton on 1700 Rd. Something went wrong however, resulting in an explosion forcing two of the walls off the foundation, and causing third-degree burns to Harrington and second-degree burns to his wife Joyce, who was standing nearby.

“It just exploded with a fireball,” Harrington recalled.

Shortly thereafter the Harringtons called a neighbor, Scott Smith, who drove them to Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar.

“He [Smith] called ahead and they were waiting for us,” Harrington said.

The couple later was taken to a Springfield hospital for further treatment before returning home around midnight.

“Know what you’re doing,” Harrington cautioned. “Let this be a warning — we could have been blinded; we could have been killed.”

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