Woman burned in car explosion: ‘Took me a long time to look at my face’

Unclear what sparked propane tank explosion

Woman speaks to FOX19 after car explosion

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A car fire and explosion rocked a Cincinnati neighborhood Monday afternoon, sending one occupant to the hospital.

The explosion happened in the 3200 block of Woodburn Avenue. An officer who was near the scene was able to pull the woman to safety.

“The car exploded. It just exploded right in front of me," Officer Perry Locke said.

The woman inside, 65-year-old Loretta Gray, is lucky to be alive. She did not want to go on camera Tuesday evening because her face is so badly burned.

Gray said she never imagined she’d survive something like this. She said she was doing what we all do, taking a propane tank to have it refilled when it suddenly blew up in the trunk. The scene was frantic, everything was on fire -- including her. She ripped off her shirt that was burning through her skin and moved quickly to escape.

“I was burning, yes, I remember how I got out of that car -- I looked at the passenger side and I crawled out head-first,” she said.

Locke said he helped her to the ground.

“The next thing I know she’s trying to get up and she’s screaming,” he said. “I immediately know it was because she was burned. I just try to hold her by her belt buckle and I am still calling for help to get cars over here and get us away from the vehicle in case another explosion might happen.”

Gray suffered second and third degree burns on her face, neck, ears, and hands.

“It took me a long time to look at my face last night,” she said. “I just fell on the bathroom floor and started crying and screaming.”

Despite the pain from her serious burns, she knows her faith will get her through.

Gray said she’s spoken with fire investigators. She says she wasn’t smoking and the tank was in the back, so they’re baffled about what sparked the explosion. She came home from the hospital Tuesday night, but plans to return because of the terrible pain she’s in.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.