House Explosion Victim Still Critical, Family Speaks Out

It’s been three weeks since a deadly house explosion claimed the lives of two people. A third victim is still hospitalized in critical condition. The family of that victim spoke to Channel 6 News on Wednesday.

The Mangiamelli family is a loving, tight-knit group. They’ve been through so much over the past few weeks. “Where do we go from here?" said Sherry Smith. "I mean everything is just such a mess. It’s too much for our families."

"It’s a devastating tragedy for our family,” said Charlene Mangiamelli Welch.

Smith and Welch have spent countless hours at the Nebraska Medical Center Burn Unit, hoping and praying that their brother Joe Mangiamelli will survive. “Joe is very critical right now.”

Joe was severely burned. His relatives Merlin Gardner and Billy Boyer were killed. Investigators believe Boyer was carrying gas in a water container when he fell down the stairs. The container hit the furnace, sparking a fire. Questions still remain, such as why was gas in the house?

“God, I wish I knew. We just know that he had five-gallon containers of gas and we are not sure what he was doing with them,” said the sisters.

For now, family members say they aren’t as concerned with the unknown, but focusing on their brother’s recovery. A recovery that’s expensive, so they are holding a spaghetti dinner Sunday to try and raise money. “We are doing this because we have two burials, we have Merlin and Billy, and then we have Joe’s bills as well.”

The fundraiser will be held from 1-6 p.m. at the Power Landing Building at 7230 Florence. It’s $10 per plate and there will also be raffle prizes.


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