Fire, Explosion Destroy Vet's Home, Possessions

RENO, NV - It began with an explosion followed by a fire which moved rapidly throughout the home.

The Red Rock Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene. Arriving from only two miles away, they found the structure already fully engulfed in flames.

The cause is still under investigation, but it appears the home's gas furnace, just recently hooked up was the source.

The explosion knocked owner Ken Voorhis off his feet.
Rising, he attempted to put the flames out out to no avail.

By light of day the destruction appeared complete. In fact, the day after there was little to do other than search for whatever survived.

Family members probed the burned wreckage and the frigid water left by the firefighters. There was little to be salvaged, beyond some pictures and Voorhis' service pistol.

That amounts to very little, but for a Marine veteran of 20 years and two tours in Vietnam it includes perhaps the most important mementos of 73 years of life and service.

"The pictures are the big thing," says Voorhis'daughter Kathy. "II mean we lost awards. He received several awards when he was in the military. Those are gone. We're still looking and hoping we'll find anything else, but at this point it's not looking very good."

Voorhis himself was kept at a local hospital last night for observation, but appears to have only suffered smoke inhalation and a possible concussion.

However, he's been undergoing treatment recently for PTSD related to his service. Kathy Voorhis says this loss may mean a setback.

"It will definitely be a blow, but he's got a pretty strong support system between us and the V-A, so we're hoping to keep that around."

Outbuildings on the rural property, including a barn, were saved.

Voorhis' horses and dogs escaped injury.


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