A Massachusetts woman apparently botched some home repairs yesterday and blew her house to smithereens, WBT reports. Lucky for Laurie Beliveau, 52, she fled her property in Taunton, Mass., minutes before the explosion. "We, my son and I, got her a pair of sandals and a glass of water and within about five minutes the house was in flames and the windows exploded," says Paul Saltalamacchia, a neighbor who saw her crying for help. Seems that Beliveau was trying to fix her hot water heater—which was gas-fueled—when she took off the gas shut-off valve, according to fire officials. That allowed gas to leak into the basement and somehow get ignited.
"Everything caved in," says Taunton Deputy Fire Chief Scott Dexter. "It's just a pile of lumber. Nothing is salvageable." According to Saltalmacchia and police, Beliveau was at home in her bedroom when an initial explosion rocked the house and blew off her closet door, the Taunton Gazette reports. "She was walking up the street screaming 'Help me, help me! My house exploded!'" Saltalmacchia says. Another neighbor says Beliveau was once married but lived alone for years, barely communicating with others and living in apparently unsanitary conditions with dogs and cats. A "rotting-vegetable-type odor" could be smelled out back even after the explosion, the Gazette reports. "She should not have been here by herself," says the neighbor. "It doesn’t make sense." (Read more explosion stories.)