Neighbors thankful 4th grader alive after sewer explosion

RUSK, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

RUSK, TX (KLTV) - A fourth grader in Rusk, severely burned from a sewer explosion, is now receiving treatment in Dallas.

Witnesses say two girls were playing Friday afternoon along FM 1248 by County Road 2201 when police say they lit a stick and dropped it down a manhole, igniting methane gas.

Witnesses said they wanted to keep their identities protected out of respect for the families, but they say it is a miracle Sarah Murray and Micah Stanley were not killed.

"They had dropped a stick down in the sewer," said a neighbor. "[They were just] curious kids trying to see what was in there."

Within seconds of dropping it down the sewer witnesses say Micah saw fire and yelled at her friend.

"'Sarah, there's fire run!' Sarah turned around and [when] she turned, the fire came up and it blew Micah - the entire top hole - 7' up in the air," said the neighbor. "It threw Micah."

The explosion was so powerful, it rocked nearby homes.

"We were sitting on the front porch and the whole earth shook out here."

"There was just dirt as tall as the top of the trees and I screamed and I ran outside," said one neighbor. "I ran over there and I heard kids screaming to the top of their lungs. That's when I knew I had to get there."

Lots of residents swarmed the scene to help Sarah, who was severely injured. One explained how they put ice and cold rags on her until an ambulance arrived.

"She was burnt pretty bad from the bottom of her back up to about half way...She was screaming and hollering because she was in so much pain."

Fortunately, Sarah's injuries are not life threatening. Despite being blown into the air, Micah was not hurt at all.

"I'm just glad it didn't kill either one of them, because it could have."

"There were a lot of miracles that day."

Residents are thankful more children were not hurt, and are keeping a closer eye on where they are playing.

Rusk police say Sarah suffered second degree burns on her back and one arm. They expect her to be back at home at the end of the week.

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