One year after being badly burned in an explosion that levelled a townhome, a Winnipeg paramedic and his family are thanking Manitobans for their support and generosity.

On September 23 of last year, off-duty paramedic Corey Schroeder performed renovations in his basement using a chemical solvent when the fumes ignited and caused an explosion.

“I knew what was happening at the time. The entire house was basically an inferno. A ball of flames,” said Schroeder.

He stumbled from the rubble of the townhome on Apple Lane in west Winnipeg and collapsed on the grass where neighbours quickly rushed to his aid.

“They were shouting, ‘Where’s the paramedic? Where’s the paramedic?’” recalled Schroeder. “Somebody shouting back, ‘He is the paramedic!’ And at the time, I kind of thought that was funny.”

A neighbour called Schroeder's partner Dana Johnson, who was three months pregnant at the time.

The moment she found out her partner was in critical condition with severe burns, the future they had carefully planned for their family was suddenly up in the air.

“I can’t even explain the type of feeling when you hear something like that,” said Johnson. “I didn’t care about the house. I didn’t care. I was worried about Corey.”

Schroeder had second and third-degree burns over much of his body and even on his face.

He would spend the next six weeks in the burn unit at Health Sciences Centre.

Johnson’s colleagues at a hair salon raised money for the family, and firefighters and police donated proceeds from their annual Guns versus Hoses hockey game.

“The words thank you…it doesn’t seem like enough to me,” said Johnson. “Thank you to everybody, and everything you did, and the support and generosity.”

A few months after Schroeder went home from the hospital, the couple and their six-year-old daughter Hailey welcomed baby Logan into their family.

Schroeder returned to work in July and the family has moved back in to their rebuilt home.

“The healing process and my recovery, and the rest of the family, it’s unbelievable,” said Schroeder. “Nobody can believe how well it’s come out for us.”

The couple said various fundraisers brought in about $30,000 to help them through the last year.

They’re grateful for that outpouring of support, and said it has helped them get to where they are today.

In the moments after the blast, Schroeder used his paramedic training to tell his neighbours how to help him.

Now that he’s returned to work, he said the traumatic experience he survived allows him to have even greater empathy for the people he works with as a paramedic.