Explosion May Be Suicide Attempt

House Explosion
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A 43-year-old man was critically injured in a natural gas explosion that destroyed a southwest Reno house, officials said.

Reno fire Capt. Bill Burney said the blast Saturday morning at the house rented by Wayman Highline is under investigation as a suicide attempt.

Highline - whose birthday was Saturday - was listed in critical condition at University Medical Center's burn unit in Las Vegas. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and neck.

Burney said the explosion occurred after Reno police responded to a domestic dispute Friday night at the house that Highline shared with his girlfriend, Tina Zieroth, 40.

"We're investigating it as a possible suicide attempt and arson, "Burney said, declining to elaborate.

Zieroth was not home when the explosion occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m.

Burney also declined to discuss details about the explosion itself other than to say it occurred in a bedroom at the Plumas Street house.

The loss of the 850-square-foot house was estimated at $85,000 to $90,000.

Fire Battalion Chief Bill Stolz said the blast also rendered four adjacent apartment units uninhabitable and damaged some nearby duplex units.

Some neighbors complained of ringing ears but there were no serious injuries, Stolz said.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Burney said.

"All four walls of the house were laying on the ground, that's how much damage was caused," he said. "It was a very loud explosion that was heard for miles."