Contractor injured in South Philadelphia explosion home from hospital

PHILADELPHIA - August 7, 2013

40-year-old Steven Barrientos is taking medication for second and third degree burns.

Giselle Gerhart was tending to Barrientos' severe and painful burns Wednesday.

"I thought he was dead. It's a miracle that he's alive," she said.

The badly injured sub-contractor barely escaped death in the explosion that leveled 3 row houses.

Barrientos was trapped in the basement when the explosion occurred. He was trapped in fire, smoke, gas fumes and a building collapsing fast.

He has told Gerhart, his companion of 7 years, how he scrambled to safety, sustaining burns over at least 22% of his upper body.

"He's been medicated from the hospital to the house. He said he just came out of a basement window," she said.

Barrientos' lawyers hired their own team of experts to comb through the debris Tuesday to determine the points of fire origin and blast patterns.

At some point down the line, plenty of lawsuits will come out of this incident.

Barrientos, they say, is a victim of gas carelessly running through the rehabbed house where he was working.

"He had no knowledge of any gas being present in the home at the time. Did not know there was gas there, did not detect gas there," said Barrientos' attorney, Jeff Goodman.

The fire marshal and the police continue to collaborate as they investigate the cause of the explosion. There has been no indication as to when they expect to have the final answers.

After our interview, Barrientos and Gerhart left for more treatment at Temple University Hospital.

There will be many more journeys like this as he struggles to recover, including likely skin graft surgery.

Already the economic pressures are building on this couple that has six children together.

"He's not working, and now we're getting all these medical bills. It's going to be a big burden on us. He doesn't have insurance," said Gerhart.

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