Two Injured in Jones County Explosion

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

JONES COUNTY, Iowa -- A husband and wife in extreme eastern Jones County suffered serious burns while using a welding torch to scrap an old pick up truck.

John Ralston, 45, and his wife Jamaica, 33, were using a torch to cut up pieces of an old abandoned truck. Jones County Sheriff's Deputies say a spark for the torch apparently ingnited fumes inside the gas tank.

The accident happened just before 10 a.m. at 1221 Bear Creek Road just east of Wyoming. Witnesses, including John Ralston's mother, say both made it back to the house after the explosion. They were in a great deal of pain and she comforted them until two air amublance helicopters arrived on the scene.

Greg Graver, Jones County Sheriff, said both victims were conscious and talking as rescuers arrived. So investigators knew right away what happened.

"They were in the process of scraping atruck and cutting off the old gas tank and using a torch. It caused the fumes to catch fire and explode. It blew the gas tank off the truck and both received serious burns," Graver said.

Authorities say they called for two helicopters because there were multiple victims, but both were taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in the same helicopter.

Their conditions are not available, but deputies say both suffered burns to the upper body including head and face. Sherif Graver said Jamaica Ralston's injuries were less serious than those suffered by her husband. The fire, except for the torch itself, was out when firefighters got there.
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