Albion, MI – An elderly couple severely burned in an explosion and fire at their house in Elmwood Avenue were able to walk out of the house on their own, village police said.

The couple, Vincenzo Spampanato, 81, and his wife, Felicia Spampanato, 82, remained in guarded condition in intensive care Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Strong Memorial Hospital said.

The fire was reported at 6:21 p.m. Wednesday at 5 Elmwood Ave. An investigation revealed Vincenzo Spampanato was working on a natural gas heater in the basement when it exploded.

Both Spampanatos were found outside the house when police and firefighters arrived and it was unclear initially how they were able to leave the house.

Chief Roland Nenni said the two were able to walk out through a basement door that led to the outside.

“She was on the first floor when the explosion happened and went into the basement and walked right into it,” Nenni said.

Police were able to talk to Mr. Spampanato before he was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong. Nenni said he was not using any torches or flames in doing the repairs and it was still uncertain what triggered the explosion.

“There is a boiler down there and the gas appliance. There are many sources of ignition but we may never know exactly what sparked it,” Nenni said.