Community organizes benefit to help Weinbach explosion victims

Community organizes benefit to help Weinbach explosion victims
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 11:41 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - It’s been a few weeks now since the deadly explosion on North Weinbach Avenue, and there are many who are still reeling from the after-effects. But on Sunday, there was an event to provide relief to the families who lost everything.

Stephen Horning owns a music studio called Big Ninja Family Dojo, which is six blocks south of the 1000 block of Weinbach Avenue, where the fatal home explosion devastated this east side neighborhood and its families. He was trying to take a nap on that horrifying Wednesday afternoon.

“My partner and a friend of mine, they were outside and saw it happen,” Horning said. “You could see the bricks fly up over the treeline. I ran downstairs, I never felt anything like it. So I’m like we gotta get down there right now, somebody’s gonna need help.”

First responders were there when they walked down the street, but Horning still wanted to help in some way. His life revolves around music – Horning’s band is called “Cynthia Murray and the end times” – so he used that as the basis for an idea.

“I’ve been playing music in Evansville for about 20 years,” Horning said. “The only way I could think of to help was to put on a concert and use that to raise funds.”

Horning’s 10-hour-long concert, hosted by Stage Two, featured many local musical acts. They performed to help raise money for those families who lost everything in the explosion. Horning says he’s trying to help the 11 families, whose homes are unlivable.

“My end goal is to raise $11,000 dollars so I can give $1,000 to each family,” Horning said. “We’re working with nonprofits, so through them we’re able to take cash and check donations. Pretty amazing to watch the community come together.”

“We’re just popping in to help the benefit,” event attendee Carlos Shane said. “I know some people who live in the neighborhood. I didn’t know anyone that was personally involved. Us coming together to help raise as much money and as much support as we can is the utmost.”

“My end goal is to raise $11,000 and whether we do it tonight or not, I’m gonna keep pushing,” Horning said. “We’re also taking item donations at my studio – household goods, furniture beds.”

The cause of that explosion back on Aug. 10 is still under investigation by state officials. In total, 39 homes were damaged.