Woman hurt in possible home explosion, fire in Hutchinson

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Cindy Ratzlaff views the damage to her friend's home. Cindy Ratzlaff views the damage to her friend's home.

A woman suffered burns in a reported home explosion and fire early Thursday morning in Hutchinson. 

Fire crews were called around 2:20 a.m. to the 1500 block of East 2nd Avenue. Battalion Chief Jeremy Unruh said they arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. Fire shot out from every window, he said. 

Crews battled the fire from the outside for about 20 minutes before they were able to get inside and douse the flames. 

Witnesses told Unruh that someone helped the woman who lived there to a house down the street. She suffered burns to her face, chest and arms and was transported to a Wichita hospital where she was listed in stable condition Thursday afternoon. Deputy Fire Chief Doug Hanen identified her as 47-year-old Theresa Kappel.

Kappel's friend, Cindy Ratzlaff, arrived on scene and said she was shocked by the damage she saw. News of the fire hit close to home for her.

"A little over three years ago, I lost my niece and her two kids to a house fire in Colorado," she said.

Kappel's dog was also reportedly missing. 

The cause is under investigation, but Unruh said there were signs of a possible explosion.

"We did find a loose gas line fitting inside, but we can't rule that that was it."

The home is considered a total loss. Further details about the investigation were not released.