Remembering the Branch Inn explosion in Pueblo

Lila Hollin, Telemundo Anchor/Pueblo Bureau Reporter, l.hollin@krdo.com
POSTED: 06:52 PM MST Nov 13, 2012    UPDATED: 04:10 AM MST Nov 14, 2012 
PUEBLO, CO -

Four years ago the Branch Inn exploded in Pueblo. The explosion killed one person and injured several others.

Heartbreaking and tragic is how many described the Branch Inn explosion.

“It was horrific,” said Vivian Pena-Lopez, manager Of Seabel’s.

Pena-Lopez was just a few feet away from where the explosion happened.

“We were in the back room and all of a sudden we heard an explosion,” said Pena-Lopez.

What she saw moments later is forever etched in her memory.

“Just a big puff of smoke and just devastation, bricks all over the place,” she said.

Investigators said the explosion was caused by natural gas built up in the building’s basement. 22-year-old Ashley Johnson was killed that day.

 Heartache filled downtown four  years ago.  Now, the atmosphere downtown has definitely changed.

 “We figured through the ashes of a horrible tragedy we could build a Pueblo business,” said Logan Layton, owner of Wicked Scissors.

 “ It was hard at first because such a horrible tragedy had taken place here,” said Layton.

 She said a guardian angel remains nearby.

“We had Sister Joan come in and do a blessing. Now we see her as an angel who looks after us every day,” said Layton.

Although things in downtown have gotten back to normal, many say they’ll never forget that day.