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Survival Story: Local family survives devastating blast

by Kerri Corrado and WJAC Web Staff

Bill Shaner will never forget the phone call that changed his life forever.

"He said you should have paid me some money. The phone hung up, and two seconds later there was a crash and then an explosion," he said.

The man on the other end of the line: Bill's long-time friend, Brad Kollar.

Kollar believed Bill ratted him out to authorities for running a meth lab and chop shop.Bill said he did not.

Police said Kollar rammed his explosive-laced truck into the Shaner home along Keprshire

"Something of that caliber explosion, you could never imagine," Bill said. "To make a house disappear like that and turn it into splinters was phenomenal."

Bill was at home at the time, as was his son, Ryan.

"I felt the floor come up and kneed myself in the temple and I blacked out," Ryan said. "[I] woke up under everything. I climbed out, screaming for dad."

Dad was nowhere to be found.

Ryan eventually found him, trapped beneath a mattress.

"He pulled the mattress off of me and then sat me up and I could breathe again. And if he weren't there that day, I wouldn't be here right now," Bill said.

Bill's wife and other son, Linda and Justin, respectively, weren't home at the time.

Moments before the blast, Justin boarded the bus for school. It was just down the road when the explosion rocked the neighborhood.

The bus circled past the house that had just been leveled.

"The bus never stopped. It just kept going," Justin said.

"The driver said you have no idea how hard it was for [Justin] to drive past that and not stop and help," Linda said.

She was at work when she got the call from her neighbor.

"Rose said I don't know how to say this to you, so I am just going to be quick and blunt. She said there has been an explosion and there is nothing left of your house," said Linda, who raced home.

What she saw was devastating.

"You could see wood. Drywall insulation. Clothes hanging out of the trees. Wood in the trees," she said. "I kinda superimposed the house on that because it was a shock."

Kollar died the moment the explosives went off.

Despite the pain he caused members of the Shaner family, they don't hold him in ill regard.

"In my heart he is missed, and always will be," Shaner said.

The Shaners the process of rebuilding their home, on the same spot they lived for 20 years.

They hope to have it move-in ready sometime next year.

While they don't have a lot right now, they say they have what's most important: each other.

"Family is the most important thing," Linda said. "I still have them and they are OK.

 So often you hear about the parents being there for the kids in time of tragedy. But for Bill, it's his kids that keep him going.

"They more help us out than we help them," Bill said, wiping a tear from his eye.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times