(East Idaho News) – It took a minute for Norman Wright to register why he was on the ground. It was the afternoon of March 21, and a massive explosion had just blown Norman through a door and into a hallway inside the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Garfield Avenue in Old Town Pocatello.
“I was lying on the floor, and I was thinking, ‘Wait a minute. What the heck just happened?’” Norman said from his home in American Falls with his wife, Kathy Wright, just two weeks after the accident. Norman glanced back into the boiler room — the room he was just flung from — to see flames shooting out from where the boiler used to be.
“I thought, ‘Why the explosion?’” Norman said. As it turns out, the church’s old boiler — an appliance that hadn’t been used in over 10 years — still had natural gas being fed to it. When Norman went to work cleaning out the boiler room, there was little reason to assume the boiler was anything more than just an obsolete hunk of metal taking up space. The church had installed a forced-air heating system a decade ago. CONTINUE