Burned alive: Burn victim talks after house explosion

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by Jaime Cerreta

Bio | Email | Follow: @CerretaNews

azfamily.com

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 10:42 PM

PEORIA, Ariz.-- Tiara Del Rio, 21, barely escaped a house explosion six months ago. What took place in only seconds continues to haunt her.

"I went to go light the lighter and it sparked the first time, I was like, OK, and it sparked a second time and that's when the house blew up," Del Rio said.

She remembers her boyfriend, Beau Zimbro, picking her up and literally throwing her out of the house before a second explosion would destroy their home.

With their skin burning from the flames, the couple were rushed to the hospital by emergency crews. 

"I knew that my hands were completely burned because I had skin coming off them," Del Rio said.

The couple arrived at the Arizona Burn Center at the same time but in separate helicopters.

"Beau was screaming, he was yelling for me because he didn't know where I was. I'm like, 'I'm here, I'm here,' and I heard nothing from him after that," Del Rio said.

Del Rio spent three weeks in a medically induced coma, wrapped from head to toe in gauze and her head shaved. Doctors had to perform more than a dozen surgeries just to save her skin. She had 21 surgeries in all. Two months later, in December, the nurses set up the first meeting for Del Rio and her boyfriend.

They hadn't seen each other since the night of accident.

"I knew the guy sitting right in front of me saved my life," Del Rio said. "I was in such amazement that I was able to see him and talk to him for the very first time. It was pretty emotional."

Which brings us to today. Del Rio has second-, third- and fourth-degree burns on 53 percent of her body. Twice a week, she goes to physical therapy to strengthen her muscles and and stretch her new skin

And now, this young woman, who was nearly burned alive, has a new perspective on what really matters in life. 

"The little things. It just makes me appreciate that and knowing we survived something so horrific ... makes you learn not to take life for granted and it makes you appreciate the people who were there for you through it all," Del Rio said.

Del Rio has $2 million in medical bills. If you would like to help go to this website:

http://www.gofundme.com/4uzoyc

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