SAN DIEGO – A Tucson family was on their way to a San Diego vacation when a propane tank on their RV exploded — severely burning a woman and two of their dogs.
The family was driving along Interstate 8 west of Pine Valley when they noticed fire shooting out from the undercarriage of their RV.
Craig Winters pulled over on the side of the freeway and yelled for his son and girlfriend Jeannie Withrow to get out of the vehicle.
Winters’ 14-year-old son Justin grabbed one of their three dogs as he ran to safety. When Winters and Withrow tried to make it around the RV with their two other dogs a propane tank exploded, he said.
“At the moment we were next to the RV the propane tank exploded,” Winters said. “We were covered in flames all over and we all screamed.”
Border Patrol agents were the first to arrive and help the family. Both Winters and Withrow were taken to a hospital burn unit while the dogs were taken to a veterinarian.
“Jeannie has severe burns over 60 percent of her body from head to toe. I was wearing jeans and pants and my expose skin got burned – hands arms, face and ears,” Winters said.
Withrow has been in a medically induced coma ever since the August 21 explosion. She is expected to be in the hospital for the next few months recovering from her severe burns.
Winters’ injuries did not require any surgeries and was released from the hospital, although he remains in San Diego at his girlfriend’s side. Justin has since returned to Tucson to start school.
The two critically burned dogs – Izzy and Pandora – have undergone several surgeries and are in need of more veterinarian care.
An online fundraiser has been set up to help the family pay for hospital and veterinarian expenses.