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Neighbor rescues man after house explosion on Edwin Avenue in Akron

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 22:07:57-04

AKRON, Ohio — An elderly man was rescued by a neighbor after a house exploded in Akron's Kenmore neighborhood.

Firefighters responded to the Labor Day blast in the 2300 block of Edwin Avenue just before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The fire department said a caller heard the sound of explosions in the area and saw flames coming from beneath the home.

The senior citizen, who was inside the home at the time of the explosion, suffered burns, firefighters said.

Family members identified the 81-year-old victim as Paul Stauffer and released the below picture to News 5.

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Scene of a house explosion on Edwin Avenue in Akron.
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Paul Stauffer.

Brian Osburn, who lives on Stanford Avenue, was startled by the explosion and initially thought a truck hit his house. He went outside and realized Stauffer's home blew up.

"I kept yelling for Paul, couldn't hear nothing," he said. "Then, all of a sudden, I heard, 'Help, I need help.'"

Osburn moved debris from the back of the collapsing home and found the victim standing in the kitchen with multiple burns, and apparently, in shock. With help from another neighbor, Osburn pulled Stauffer out of the house.

"It's the human adrenaline. I guess when you see something like that, it kind of kicks in and no matter what, you're gonna save somebody," Osburn said. "It's amazing, but I do give the good Lord credit for this because he was watching over him pretty good."

Stauffer was taken to Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center and was later transferred to the burn unit at Akron Children's Hospital.

Stauffer's daughter, Paula Willey, said Osburn will forever be a hero.

"What are neighbors for. That's awesome," Willey said. "It's totally amazing."

Willey said her dad has burns on his head, shoulders and back of his head. He understands what happened but doesn't know how the explosion occurred.

"We'll just hope everybody says a bunch of prayers for him and we get him back to health real soon," she said.

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Scene of a house explosion on Edwin Avenue in Akron.

Dominion Energy Ohio was called to shut off the gas. Firefighters have not yet determined the cause.

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