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Kewanee man continues to push forward after gas explosion blows up his home

KEWANEE, Illinois – Two years ago on January 11th, 2017, Edd Bickers escaped a gas explosion that left his house in pieces and he lost everything in it.

Bickers was in his house playing solitaire on his computer when his house exploded not once, but twice while he was inside.  Somehow, he was able to find his way out.

He suffered burns all over his body and had to go through months of rehab at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The aftermath of an explosion at Edd Bickers' home in Kewanee, Illinois

Since the accident he’s turned his life around and he’s come a long way in a short matter of time.

“I know it’s an empty lot here but all I see is the flames and the fire, that’s why I don’t come back over too often,” Bickers looks back.

“I say this – I’m in the middle of a fire.  The ceiling, the floor, everything is on fire, but I didn’t inhale it and I didn’t burn my eyes,” Bickers says.

Now, he has made a full recovery.

“That was then, and this is now, just got to move forward and move forward always,” Bickers emphasizes.

But even on this two-year anniversary, pieces of the accident still bring him back.

“Well that’s unbelievable,” Bickers comments as he finds police tape at the same spot the explosion took place two years back. “It’s hard to believe that’s still here from two years ago, two years ago today about 4:30 in the afternoon – BOOM!”

Now, he has a new home and a new addition, a wife named Jeralynn.

“I’m just happy she said yes instead of hitting me with a stick,” Bickers laughs.

Edd and Jeralynn Bickers have been co-workers at a nearby nursing home for over ten years, always admiring each other.

“I was single for a few years and not at all looking,” says Jeralynn.

“But she couldn’t pass this up,” jokes Edd.

“When this accident happened, I knew I was going to have to ask her because life was going by,” Edd says.

“He’s got a heart of gold,” Jeralynn comments.

And at age 62 and 67 they decided to tie the knot.

“And she’s been by my side since,” Edd says.

“I always will be,” Jeralynn replies.

Proving life can be too short and you must keep moving forward.

“It completely changed my life and for the better,” says Edd.

“Yep, a new life, a good life,” Jeralynn replies.

Edd and Jeralynn now live in their new home in Kewanee with their cat and fish and are looking forward to spending the rest of their life together.

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