Peoria couple recovering after house explosion

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PEORIA -- A Peoria couple is recovering from severe burn injuries after an explosion and fire destroyed their home in October.

"If we can survive through this, we can survive through pretty much anything," Beau Zimbro said. "To tell you the truth, I didn't think I'd make it."

Zimbro was discharged from the Arizona Burn Center on Friday and will continue rehab at the same facility as his girlfriend, Tiara Del Rio.

"To know he's going home, this is the day I've been waiting for," said Del Rio, who was discharged earlier in January.

Zimbro helped Del Rio out of their burning home Oct. 16 after she lit a candle and it exploded in her face.

"I remember throwing her out of the blown-out wall, and then I got my feet caught on some nails and I had to unhook them to get out," Zimbro recalled. "Then I picked her back up again and we made it out to the street."

Fire investigators said the cause of the explosion appeared to be a natural gas leak from a line that was broken during a remodeling project.

"Being set on fire, you heard the sizzle and you feel your skin and your hair and everything burn, and the sizzle won't go away," Zimbro explained. "That's where you've got two options: you're thinking you're going to die or you get a chance out."

Both Del Rio and Zimbro were placed in medically induced comas so doctors could treat their wounds. More than 50 percent of Zimbro's upper body was burned.

Zimbro said his first thought when awoke was, "just in awe that she's still there, and I'm still here. We're both still here."

He said his family has helped him through the difficult days.

"The stuff you've got to go through in a burn accident is extremely painful, not only emotionally but also physically,” said Zimbro. "It's real tough because there's days I just lose it. I can't handle it. Then there's other days I can."

Doctors used a new procedure to treat the couple's burns -- a skin spray called ReCell.

"Our federal government gave us approval to do that, and we did it and it was a huge success in both of them," said Dr. Kevin Foster.

Foster said there were complications for Zimbro including blood clots and a heart and lung infection, but Zimbro's burn injuries were more serious than most.

"The fact that he had bad inhalation injury and his wounds were a little bit deeper than most people that we see, I think that he is a little bit ahead of the curve," Foster said.

Zimbro said he hopes more burn patients can benefit from the new treatment.

"They can try it on me and, if it works great and it can help and save other people's lives, awesome," Zimbro said.