Crumbled pieces of cement and mangled piping is all that's left of a barbecue grill that exploded Monday morning at the Oaks of Woodland Apartments on Waters Avenue in Tampa.
"It happened so fast," Alaezea Longmire said. "I couldn't think straight. I was shaking."
Alaezea Longmire was having a cook out at the pool with family and friends to celebrate her 17th birthday. The occasion soon turned frantic after Longmire's mother, Dana Brezina, started putting food on the grill.
Brezina and her 13-year-old daughter were both thrown a few feet back.
Clay Nycz was heading to work but first stopped by a friend's apartment right near the pool.
"As soon as I walked in, I heard a blast just like I did overseas, straight like an IED," Nycz said.
An Army vet who served in Afghanistan, Nycz's military training kicked in. He ran over to the pool area, jumped the fence and went into action. "Pulled everybody to the side, got everybody out of there," he said.
Nycz carried Brezina and her daughter away from the explosion.
"Both of them were in shock. Reassuring them they're going to be OK," Nycz said.
Brezina has a broken wrist and a few burns to her thigh. Her daughter escaped injury.
Fire investigators believe the explosion was caused by a small leak or human error, but they are still investigating.
As for Longmire, her birthday present is the miracle that her mom and sister are OK.
"My mom said to make sure I have the best birthday today," Longmire said.