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Wednesday September 19, 2018

fund raising for blast victims

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 14:40 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

Funds are being raised to help repair damage to homes as far as two blocks from a residence full of natural gas that exploded.

City councilman Bryant Dabney is using his personal page on Facebook to raise money to help ''especially the houses that were right next door and a couple of houses down from the explosion.''

''They really lost a lot,'' he said.

The post seeking funds to help the Eastport Neighborhood went up on his page September 5.

By 5 p.m. on Friday, $545 had been donated.

His goal is $5,000.

''I know that's high but that's what I put out there,'' Dabney said.

An open natural gas line in the kitchen was deemed the cause of the September 2 blast at 436 Pleasant Ave, said Tony Drzewiecki, public information officer for the Michigan City Fire Department.

He said how the line disconnected inside the vacant structure with its roof blown completely off remained under investigation.

Michigan City Fire Chief Randy Novak said nearly two dozen homes and several vehicles within a two block radius had windows broken and other damage.

Miraculously, perhaps, nobody was killed or injured.

Novak said residents next door in a home that caught fire were not there at the time and nobody apparently was out for a walk or playing nearby at the time of the explosion.

''The way this debris spread all over and the glass that was flying somebody would have gotten hurt,'' Novak said.

Dabney, who lives two blocks from where the blast occurred, said he didn't know what happened at first.

''I thought somebody ran their car into my house. That's how it shook my house,'' Dabney said.

Dabney said homes closest to the explosion had the worst damage that included cracked walls and ceilings.

Mayor Ron Meer said it took several dump trucks and other pieces of heavy machinery to clean up the debris strewn throughout the neighborhood.

He said demolition of the two homes damaged the most is planned once the investigation has been completed.
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