Car explodes injuring man and rocking neighborhood in west Greeley

Acetylene tank in trunk fueled blast

GREELEY, Colo. - A car explosion rocked a neighborhood, badly injuring a man in Greeley on Thursday night.

The explosion tore open the back of the white Ford Taurus and blew out the windows of nearby homes, including the home where the car was parked.

The blast happened outside a home near Fifth Street and 46th Avenue Way around 10:40 p.m.

Neighbors told 7NEWS they heard several blasts and saw flames engulf the car like a "bonfire."

"It sounded like a huge boom, just a huge explosion," neighbor Valerie Moore said.

The blast set off her truck alarm. "My 3-year-old was really scared and freaked out," Moore said.

An Acetylene tank in the trunk appears to have fueled the explosion. The victim is a plumber and had been wondering what to do with the tank, according to family members. 

Friends of the victim told 7NEWS he was staying with them and had run out to his car to grab something when they heard the explosion.

The injured man lost one eye and has glass in the other eye, a family member told 7NEWS. He also suffered a broken leg in the blast.

"Glass blew out of our house...I honestly thought somebody hit the back of our house with a car," said the victim's friend who asked to remain anonymous.

"The car just engulfed in flames and (the plumber) was on the ground and neighbors started heading over, and I said we got to get him away from this car because I knew it was going to blow again," the friend said.

"It's horrific to look at. He had a big gash in his head and when paramedics finally picked him up, his neck was just gushing blood out," the friend said.

But the man was able to talk to paramedics, witnesses said.

 "He had blood on his face, he had blood on his arms. He looked like he was pretty messed up," Moore said. "You could still hear him talking, but he looked like he was hurt pretty bad."

The victim's friend added, "It's totally amazing that he's alive. Very sad and scary and very upsetting."

Arson investigators were still on scene Friday morning trying to determine what caused the tank to explode.