Homeowners allowed brief visits home days after Weinbach explosion

Homeowners allowed brief visits home days after Weinbach explosion
Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - After Wednesday’s explosion on Weinbach Avenue, which took the lives of three people, several nearby houses had to be evacuated until the city could ensure their stability.

The owners of those homes still can’t move back in, but the city gave them the chance to go back for a few hours.

As they got to have their first look inside their homes, a local business, as well as the American Red Cross, tried to make that process go as smoothly as possible for them.

Jenny Cochran lives in Florida but grew up in Evansville. She’s in town visiting family, and planned on helping plan her sister’s wedding. Instead, she’s helping clean up some of the damage Wednesday’s explosion caused to her childhood home.

“To get here, to help and assist, that’s really what’s keeping me going,” said Jenny. “I’m living off of adrenaline, prayer, and coffee for sure.”

That house is one of several the City Building Commission marked as possibly being unstable or unsafe, displacing those who live inside.

People are only allowed inside those houses with an escort. To that end, the City Building Commission set up on the corner of Vogel Road and Weinbach Avenue from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday to give people that chance.

For some people, it was their first time being home since the explosion. To make it easier, the Red Cross was there with volunteers focusing on the mental and spiritual well-being of those in need.

Employees from an Evansville Lowe’s were on site as well, giving away totes, buckets, masks, gloves and more for free.

“It doesn’t matter about cost of anything,” said Lowe’s store manager Brian Anderson. “It’s just about getting these families taken care of and showing that Lowe’s is here for them, whatever they need right now and in the future.”

Jenny says the cleanup is emotional work. She says it’s frustrating not knowing the cause of the explosion, it’s sad to consider the destruction and loss of life, and she’s also grateful her family was spared greater harm.

“I am up here not planning a funeral for two people that I deeply love, so God is good in that for me,” said Jenny. “For other people who are grieving their losses, my prayers just go out to them.”

As cleanup efforts continue, it may still be a good while before the owners can move back into their houses.

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