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Septic tank explosion destroys home

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Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 17:55:07-04
A Zephyrhills family says they barely made it out of their home alive after their septic tank caught fire and exploded. 
 
Now, they are urging families to check their own septic tanks to hopefully prevent this from happening to others.
 
Blackened and burned, charred remains of a modular home are all that's left after the septic tank caught fire -- the result of built up methane gas.
 
We heard something that sounded like a gunshot," said Laura Tipton, the homeowner. "I yelled at him to get the baby out of the house and go,go, go!"
 
But soon after, Tipton said there was nothing left to do but wait.
 
"All I could do is just stand there and watch it burn," she said.
 
Now, Tipton, Daniel Westman, her fiancée and their 18-month-old daughter, Isabel, are taking things day by day.
 
Some things survived the smoke and water damage, like a special mural of a tree painted in Isabel's room. But for the most part, everything is gone.
 
Now, the family is living in tents in the backyard of the property. They wash dishes with a hose and family meals are eaten outside. They were able to rescue an heirloom clock from the wreckage so they can see what time it is.
 
"We have our moments and we're just trying to stay as strong as we possibly can through all of this," Tipton said.
 
Tipton said because they have a modular home, they were unable to have insurance on it. So now, they are working to pay for the repairs themselves.
 
The American Red Cross was able to give the family $500 to replace some clothes and purchase a little food, but that's it. 
 
Now, the family has set up a Go Fund Me page and is asking for the community's help. 
 
They are now urging families to check their own septic tanks for hazards.
 
"Make sure they are covered properly and that they aren't anywhere near heat where the methane can explode," Tipton said.
 
They said they won't leave the property and are prepared to live in the tents for months. However, they say this will not weaken their resolve to rebuild their home.