Two Nebraska women are in critical condition after an explosion that destroyed a home Friday night in the southwest Iowa town of Red Oak. Twenty-five-year-old Melissa Golden and 23-year-old Jill Kaczor, both of Osceola, Nebraska, were being treated Saturday at the St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center’s burn unit in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Both women suffered burns over much of their bodies in the explosion. The women drove themselves to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital in Red Oak following the blast. From there, they were airlifted to the hospital in Nebraska. Red Oak Fire Chief Rick Askey says the women were in town to visit Golden’s mother, Kim Miller. Miller, and another resident of the house, John Dunbar, were not home at the time of the explosion.


The cause of the blaze had not been determined as of Sunday, and the investigation was expected to resume today. Askey says authorities ruled out natural gas as a possible cause, because the family did not have a propane tank on the premises, and officials with MidAmerican Energy Company performed tests on their lines and connections over the weekend. Jeff Quigle, assistant state fire marshal, said investigators will interview the victims after their conditions stabilize.