Community Rallies Around Blast Victims

Evansville residents continue to feel the effects of the devastating explosion at a North Weinbach Avenue home on Aug. 10. As loved ones lay Charles Hite, Martina Hite, and Jessica Teague to rest this week, the street now is clear to traffic, but the investigation into the explosion is ongoing and, officials say, expected to be lengthy.

The blast that tore apart the neighborhood around 1010 N. Weinbach has left visible scars: In addition to the 39 structures that sustained damage, 11 homes have been declared uninhabitable, displacing up to 15 families.

Presently, the American Red Cross of Southwest Indiana’s disaster reaction team is assessing the needs of those affected by the blast and coordinating efforts with area businesses and help agencies to meet their immediate physical and mental health needs. The Red Cross has not yet made a public call for donations, but that hasn’t stopped Evansville residents from springing into action.

Several displaced families have children who attend nearby Vogel Elementary School, which immediately launched a restaurant gift card and clothing donation drive for its affected students and their families. The school also allowed the Red Cross to set up a reception center for meals and cooling off on its campus the day of the explosion.

Although this week’s donation drives for restaurant gift cards and clothing have ended, check back with Vogel Elementary School about upcoming ways to help.

Lawman Tactical, the “guntry” club and shooting range at 1936 N. Green River Road, is collecting donations for displaced families. Through this Friday, visitors can drop off requested items such as toiletries, trash bags, socks, and kitchen items like condiments and seasonings, and Lawman Tactical staff then will distribute them.

Store-N-Lock Storage & Packing at 10966 Lincoln Ave., Newburgh, IN, is offering free storage rentals to anyone affected by the home explosion. Call 812-402-0550 to make a reservation.

Earthborne Studios tattoo and body piercing shop at 1359 Washington Ave. is collecting monetary, household item, and clothing donations for an employee and her children whose residence at 1006 N. Weinbach Ave. was badly damaged in the blast and is one of the 11 set to be demolished.

Help also has been extended to first responders. Donut Bank, McDonald’s, and Mission BBQ are among the restaurants who provided meals late last week, and Rural King quickly donated totes to collect families’ valuables clean-up efforts.

The Red Cross has shared information about its 24-hour support line anyone can call for help. Dial 800-985-5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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