Evansville woman remembers 2017 Hercules Ave. explosion amid Weinbach tragedy

Evansville woman remembers 2017 Hercules Ave. explosion amid Weinbach tragedy
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Residents on Hercules Avenue remember where they were on June 28, 2017.

It was 8:30 a.m. and Pat Snyder had just about finished her morning walk.

“All of the sudden, the ground shook, and this horrible boom, so I turned around and looked and – the roof of a house was going up in the air and landed in the street,” Snyder said.

An explosion and subsequent fire broke out on Hercules Avenue that day, killing two women and leaving three people with severe burns.

One of the victims was a 6-year-old boy.

[Previous 14 News Exclusive: Hercules home explosion survivors one year later]

Snyder felt the ground shake, then rushed to help those in danger, against her son’s wishes.

“He yelled ‘no mom’ and I said ‘yes,’ I said ‘I’ve lived my life,’” Snyder said. “I said ‘I wanted to save people that you know... that are hurting.’”

The 6-year-old child who was severely burned became her reason to stay on the scene for seven hours.

“The little boy, he was six years old, he kept saying ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’ and I said, ‘God will take care of you,’” Snyder said.

As she recalled the people they could save, Snyder also recalled those they couldn’t.

“We kept saying come towards the light, cause [of] the windows in the basement,” Snyder said. “They kept saying help me, help me.”

Those two women who were trapped in the basement didn’t survive.

Fast forward to the Weinbach Avenue explosion on Wednesday, the same initial feelings resurfaced.

“The ground shook the same way,” Snyder said. “It went boom... then just shook.”

Snyder says hearing the initial blast Wednesday took her back five years to the day of the Hercules Avenue explosion.

“To hear that... the day before yesterday, it brought back the memories to me again,” Snyder said.

When remembering the 2017 explosion and its effect on her life, Snyder says she began to think of those affected on North Weinbach Avenue, now experiencing a similar situation.

“Just the fact they went through that... I didn’t think I’d ever feel right again,” Snyder said.

Two house explosions have now happened in five years. These two happened only half a mile away from each other.

“Take every day and be thankful you got that day, because we’re not promised tomorrow,” Snyder said.

Click here for the latest updates regarding the explosion on North Weinbach Avenue.

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