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Two people seriously burned in explosion at Pocatello church


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Pocatello firefighters at First Congregational United Church of Christ on North Garfield Avenue Tuesday afternoon after a boiler at the church exploded, inflicting serious burns on two people. | Idaho State Journal photo

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.

The following is an update from Portneuf Medical Center:

Based on initial field reports, leaders at Portneuf Medical Center today initiated a Code Black response to an incident in the community. This state of readiness allows for all resources of the hospital to be utilized should those resources be needed.

Portneuf received two patients, stabilized them and arranged for transfer to the University of Utah. As the magnitude of the situation became clearer the hospital resumed normal operations until ultimately the Code Black was cleared.

It is always impressive to see health care professionals manage emergencies and today was not exception.


POCATELLO — A boiler explosion at an Old Town church has left two people with serious burns.

One of the victims suffered potentially life-threatening burns but the other individual is expected to survive following the 2:15 p.m. Tuesday explosion at First Congregational United Church of Christ on North Garfield Avenue across from the Pocatello High School.

Firefighters said the victims are both adults, but their names have not yet been released. The victims are believed to be members of the church. Further details on how the explosion occurred were not available from firefighters on the scene.

The boiler explosion stretched the Pocatello Fire Department’s resources to their limit because at the same time the department responded to two ambulance calls in Pocatello and another in Chubbuck.

Firefighters extinguished the boiler fire at the church in less than 10 minutes and the two victims were quickly loaded onto Fire Department ambulances for transport to Portneuf Medical Center.

PMC declared what’s called a “code black” because of the large influx of patients from the medical-related ambulance calls and church fire.

A “code black” means that no PMC personnel can leave the hospital because all staff might be needed to treat the incoming patients.

Further details on the ambulance calls were not available as of Tuesday afternoon.

North Garfield Avenue in the area of the church remained shutdown as of 3:15 p.m. because of the emergency response to the boiler explosion.

This article first appeared in the Idaho State Journal. It is used here with permission.