NEWPORT, Ky. - A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night for the victims of a large house fire caused by an explosion in Northern Kentucky that claimed the life of one person and injured two others.
One of the survivors, Ida Neal, attended the vigil just hours after leaving University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where she was treated for burns on her hands and face.
She was home with her husband Paul Neal and son Dwayne Luttrell at their residence in the 1600 block of Waterworks Road in Newport at the time of the explosion last Friday morning. Witnesses said the explosion sounded like a “war zone.”
At the vigil, she spoke about the loss of her son, Luttrell, who died Monday after suffering third degree burns to 78 percent of his body.
"He's in a better place, he's not suffering no more. He's with his brother who he loved dearly," she said.
Neal lost her only other child, Tommy, to cancer just two months ago.
"I keep asking myself what did I do wrong to lose two beautiful boys so young, 29 and 33 years old, and I don't know why," she said.
Neal is trying to cope with the loss of her son, her home and the physical pain from her burn injuries, too.
"Very sore and painful, I'm glad to be out, I'm glad to be home, or what's here," she said after leaving the hospital Tuesday night.
Friends and family gathered near where Neal's home once stood while holding candles and linking arms.
"I brought everyone together to have memories of him to let him know we do care for him and he's always with us,” said cousin Rachel Sullivan, who helped organized the vigil.
Neal's husband said he remembers that tragic day very clearly. He was getting ready for work when the explosion happened.
"I went to stand up to put my coat on, ‘Kaboom!’ The ceiling came down on me, I was pinned in, there was fire all around, I was screaming but nobody could hear me,” said Paul Neal, who sustained a compressed fracture in his back and cuts on his hand.
He and his wife managed to escape outside. Luttrell was pulled from a fiery bedroom.
The house went up in flames after the explosion and one officer said the house "fell into a pit" when it exploded. The frigid temperatures have made fighting the fire more difficult. The water quickly turned into ice, creating slick conditions for the firefighters.
Regardless, Neal says she wants to rebuild in the same place as her old home.
"Those same memories won't be there anymore, still memories of them growing up, memories of the little boys running through the house," said Neal.
The Neals are staying with friends and family for the meantime. A fundraiser for the family will be held this Friday at Huddles Cafe in Newport starting at 9 p.m.
Officials say natural gas was fueling the fire, but the cause of the actual explosion is being investigated.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Northern Kentucky's Top Stories
The public adventure sends participants on a scavenger hunt full of physical and mental challenges. The goal is to support the improvement of Covington’s communities.