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Family Describes Narrowly Escaping House Explosion; Gym Collecting Donations

URBANDALE, Iowa -- An Urbandale family is slowly putting their lives back together after their home flooded and then exploded Saturday.

Christina and Shane Rhoades said it was late in the evening when water came rushing into their Urbandale home and the couple was downstairs trying to stop the waterfall pouring in through the windows.

“We saw the lights flickered and we looked at each other and what sounded like a clap of thunder like it’s right above you and next thing I know we were under water. Completely underwater and it was black. The wall duplex units gave way and our kids were upstairs and we were completely under water,” Christina and Shane said.

Christina was able to swim to the basement ceiling get a breath of air and climb out of a window.

“Once we got out the window we realized the house was still up it was just the basement wall, we ran and got our kids and we ran up the hill. There’s a duplex up the hill, that’s our friend Bobby. And we ran there and we got all the kids there,”

Shane ran back to the house and grabbed what he could and then the unthinkable happened.

“About 45 minutes after we got out and got everything out we just heard a loud whistle and our house exploded right in front of us and we hurried up and I tried to get everybody inside bobby’s house so they didn’t get hit with debris and we each grabbed a kid and we took off down a little alleyway to the street behind us,” Shane said.

Christina said she believes they had a special helper the night of the tragedy.

“I know that my grandma passed away last year and I know that she was there. It feels like we had a guardian angel. I literally got a gasp of air right above where her chair was underneath me.I think that’s the only thing that got us out of there.”

Christina said it’s a miracle they are alive.

“I’m so thankful. I don’t know what I would do if I lost him or the kids. I just can’t believe this happened,” Christina said.

Denise De Hamer, the manager of Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping gym is accepting donations for the Rhoades at 8801 Hickman Road, Urbandale.

They are accepting cash, checks or gift cards. Checks can be made out to Christina Rhoades.

Christina is a member of the gym and De Hamer said the gym members are like a family.

“For Us, we guide them through everything at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping with the nutrition, the exercise, but more importantly it becomes a family. We’re their accountability partners and we become their family here,” De Hamer said. “While she has been inside this gym, she’s always very supportive to others. People would view her as a part of this family as well. So it was really important that we stand behind her and support her just as she does the same type of thing for not only people inside of this gym, but outside of this gym.”

Christina said they are truly grateful for their help.

“Farrell’s is a family and the fact that they’re there for me and our family and they’re doing everything they can for us it’s just amazing,” Christina said.

There is also a Go Fund Me page set up and you can donate here.