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Pain remains after family survives blast

January 17, 2000

Propane explosionBy MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




BOONSBORO - George and Jane Carey are back at their old address months after an April 22, 1999, explosion destroyed their two-story house on Kaetzel Road and left both of them with life-altering injuries.

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"We live at 2223 Kaetzel Road again but it's a whole new house," said Jane Carey.

Their grandson, Trey, now 6, emerged uninjured from the blast that was determined to have been caused by a propane tank leak.

The new house, which was paid for with the insurance settlement on the old house, is all on one floor, necessary now that mobility is a factor.

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"I don't know if I'll ever be pain-free again," Jane Carey said Monday. "I still can't walk far or stand very long, even to wash my own dishes."

A fourth operation is ahead for Jane Carey, but she doesn't expect it to eliminate all her foot problems.

The blast left Jane Carey, 60, with two broken ankles, knee and foot injuries and bruises on her side.

Both of George Carey's ankles were broken in the explosion and he still can't put any weight on his feet.

"It hurts us both just to wear shoes," Jane Carey said.

Both are scheduled to see their doctors Feb. 2 at the Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center where they were hospitalized for more than a week after the explosion.

When they returned to the area in early May, they were homeless, but Jane Carey's employer and co-workers at the Fahrney-Keedy Home arranged to move the couple into one of the apartments rent-free.

Fahrney-Keedy, near Boonsboro, has cottages, apartments, assisted living units and a nursing home to provide services for older citizens.

Jane Carey had worked in housekeeping at the nursing home for seven years.

"We were in that apartment from April until October and they took care of everything," Jane Carey said. "I don't know how I could ever repay them."

Her co-workers did chores, cooked, cleaned, took the Careys to appointments, and kept them company for those six months.

George Carey, 62, who worked at Eastalco in Frederick County, Md., for 17 years, said his co-workers also helped them out.

"And our neighbor at the apartment, Jane Bowman, shopped for us, took out the trash, anything she could do for us," Jane Carey said.

The Careys' children spent plenty of time with their parents during those recuperative months and beyond.

Jane Carey said she sometimes goes over to Fahrney-Keedy to spend time with her friends or have lunch once in a while, but said she misses being busy and independent like she was before the explosion.

On the night of the explosion, George Carey pulled into the driveway and noticed a sour smell. Moments later as he and his wife ran into the kitchen to get the gas company's phone number, the two-story house that had been their home for 15 years exploded.

The next thing George Carey knew he was in the basement trying to crawl out of the rubble, pulling his unconscious wife with him.

The explosion took everything the Careys had accumulated in 30 years of marriage. The property was cleared and prepared for the new home that was built on the site.

While Jane Carey knows things will probably never be the same, the past nine months have served to reaffirm their faith in their fellow man, she said.

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