Neighbors of the couple whose house exploded when leaking natural gas ignited say the couple came over to ask if they were all right and if they could take a shower.

Share story

The nightmare for Pinehurst residents started early Monday when an explosion shattered windows, buckled walls, knocked down a fence and left families in the dark.

What Evan Gullicson remembers vividly is his next-door neighbors, Hong and David Ingham, bursting through the door, asking if they were all right.

The Gullicsons were fine. It was the Inghams who needed help.

“Hong’s hurt. Hong needs help,” David Ingham told him. “We need your shower.”

This week, save 90% on digital access.

“I couldn’t even see well enough to know if she was burned,” Gullicson said. “I took them into the shower and then I called 911.”

It was so dark it was impossible to tell how badly injured they were, Gullicson said.

The explosion was caused by a gas leak and turned the small house into an inferno. It collapsed their garage roof and blew windows out in the houses surrounding theirs, in one case sending shards of glass flying 60 feet.

“When I first heard the noise, I thought someone ran into our house,” said Gullicson. “I saw debris everywhere and then fire, and I knew we’ve got to get out of there. We got blankets and towels” in which to wrap their three children, ages 4 and 5 and a week-old infant.

“I don’t think we even made eye contact, it happened so fast and in such a fog,” Gullicson said. “But they [the Inghams] came in first to see if we were OK, which is nuts.”

Other neighbors put a board down over a blown-down fence and David Ingham lifted Hong, who was wrapped in blankets and towels, and passed her over to the neighbors. Then everyone climbed over to safety.

“I don’t know how they survived,” said another neighbor, Dustin Fernandez, who awoke to find the poker table where he’d been playing a few hours before covered in glass and the siding loosened from the garage.

The Inghams were taken by Medic One to Harborview Medical Center, where they were treated for burns. On Tuesday, Hong Ingham, 50, was in serious condition in the intensive-care unit. Her husband, David, 53, a Seattle City Light lineman, was discharged that afternoon, said spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

Hong Ingham is a dietitian for the Crista Ministries retirement community in Shoreline, where administrator Barbara Culley called her a “delightful, cheerful person” who had worked there almost 10 years. “She loves our residents and has such a great joy.

“She’s a delightful, precious person and we’re keeping her in our prayers,” Culley said. “We’re asking others to join us in prayer.”

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.