SALT LAKE CITY — In a letter shared by friends on social media, the husband of a woman rescued last week when their cabin exploded into flames recounted her miraculous rescue and what's happened since.
On Feb. 15, Lori Walker, her kids and their friends had just arrived at the family's cabin in Timber Lakes, which is just east of Heber City. Walker smelled gas and told the children to stay in the car, according to the letter written by the woman's husband, Kelly Walker.
Shortly after Lori Walker went in to check on the cabin, it exploded, firefighters said.
"Fire, smoke, and debris surrounded the van. My oldest attempted to back the van up the driveway but the tires just spun on the ice. The explosion passed and she yelled for the others to call 911 and run to the neighbor’s house," Kelly Walker wrote.
The girl then tried to get into the cabin but couldn't find a way in, Walker said, and a neighbor ran up behind her and sent her running to his house to get an ax.
"She did so and brought it back to him as fast as her legs could carry her," according to the letter. Two other neighbors showed up to help. The three men got into the home and heard Walker yelling for help.
"They couldn’t reach her from where they were so they pulled out, ran to the back of the cabin and broke through a burning wall to find the kindest, most charitable woman I have ever known burning and crushed by large beams," Kelly Walker said.
The men pulled beams off of the trapped woman and carried her out. Soon after, "the building fell to the floor," the letter describes.
"Honestly if we wouldn't have been there, the fire department wouldn't have been able to get to her," Mark Pierce, one of those neighbors, said last week. "I think it was like literally in the nick of time."
As they escaped the intense heat of the fire, the neighbors carried her through deep snow and to an ambulance.
Walker said his wife was taken to Heber Hospital and later flown to University of Utah Hospital, where she remained as of Thursday.
"She arrived with all her vital organs functioning well. She has had a couple scares since but is currently stable and improving. Everyone that knows her, knows how strong of a woman she is. Her strength is on constant display as she fights for her life," Walker said.
She has undergone multiple surgeries, he said, and will need more.
But Walker has "read every text and felt the prayers and fasting of the hundreds if not thousands of people," he said, thanking people for their support.
"I have had the wonderful opportunity to speak with all three of Lori’s heroes that rescued her from the cabin. They are obviously incredible men. I can’t wait for the day when Lori is able to embrace them and they are able to see what an amazing woman they saved!" he wrote.
Walker also described the "tender mercies and miracles" involved in his wife's rescue and those that the family has experienced during their trial, including that Lori Walker had no damage to her internal organs after the fire.
Friends of the family took to social media to share their support.
"Lori has brought meals when we’ve been sick or had babies, meals that would feed our family for a month and were wrapped in jokes and puns and words of encouragement. … She’s shuttled my kids all over Utah and been a supportive friend and cheerleader. Lori is one of a kind," one woman wrote.Comment on this story
"I have been a grateful recipient of Lori’s kindness, love and service. I want to show my love and support in return," another wrote.
"When I grow up I want to be like my friend and neighbor Lori Rigby Walker. Since moving to Springville two years ago she has always made me feel so loved when I had done nothing to deserve it. She reached her hand out to me in friendship when I hardly knew anyone," one woman said.
Friends have created a hashtag, #lightsforlori, to encourage others to keep the family in their prayers.