One Dead, Others Fight For Life After Explosion Levels Pueblo Restaurant

Rescue crews pull out a man trapped under the rubble for more than four hours after an explosion completely levels a restaurant in Pueblo, CO.
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A huge explosion Thursday completely leveled The Branch Inn located at Union and C Street in Pueblo, killing one woman and injuring seven others.

Police say the call came in at about 2:15 p.m. that there had been an explosion on the roof of the restaurant located at 301 S. Union Avenue and the roof had collapsed.

Officials say two women were pulled from the rubble initially after being trapped for a time. One of those women, 22-year-old AshleyJohnson, later died at the hospital. The other woman, Jennifer Flower, was airlifted to Denver and is in good condition Friday.

After being trapped for more than four hours rescue crews pulled Eugene Roney, 74, from deep within the rubble. He was taken to Parkview Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition. Rescue crews say Roney was believed to be inside the building when it exploded and it is a miracle he is alive.

Another victim, 41-year-old Frank Vigil, also remains at Parkview in fair condition. Three other victims were treated and released. One person remains at St. Mary Corwin Medical Center. Their names have not been released.

There are a number of small boutiques in the area. One building next to the Branch Inn was also severely damaged by the blast, causing the roof to partially collapsed.

The Pueblo Fire Department says the explosion also completely blew out the windows in neighboring buildings.

Fire investigators in Pueblo are returning to the scene of the deadly explosion Friday morning to figure out a cause.

Fire officials say the damage is consistent with what could be a natural gas explosion, but they have not confirmed that yet.

The building is on the historical register in Pueblo. A new roof was installed just this year in April, 2008, as well as a new heater and cooling system in 2007.

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