Longtime Weinbach resident reflects on changes since explosion
It’s been a long three months for Diane Barth, who’s lived on Weinbach Avenue for almost half her life.
She says Wednesday’s announcement gave her some closure, but also some feeling of uncertainty.
“My first thought was how did this happen?” Barth said. “How did a gas line get opened? Do I have one in my basement that’s open? What happened?”
The trail of debris caused by the explosion has been erased from the street, but Barth grew up in the neighborhood, and had family that did, too.
“My grandmother lived over on [Hercules Avenue] in one of those houses that’s probably gonna be torn down,” she said. “We moved here when I was about 11 or 12 years old. Then my mom passed away and I came back, and that was 24 years ago.”
Over her time in this community, Barth has taken pride in getting to know the neighbors that come and saying goodbye to the ones who go.
Looking at the place where her neighbors once lived — the place where three lives were lost — she knows her precious community is hurting.
“It’s another world,” Barth said looking over at the leveled explosion site from her backyard. “It’s not the same anymore. You don’t see the people, I miss the people that were there. It’s like I don’t have any neighbors anymore, they’re all gone. And the ones they have left, no one’s living in them.”
In all her years living in this house, Barth says she’s never been able to see Oak Hill Road from her backyard.
With all that’s happened since the explosion, Barth says she sits on her back porch and thinks about how it used to be, knowing it will never be the same.
“You just look around and see that everything has changed. Nothing is the same anymore, so you just have to adjust to what you got now and go on,” Barth said.
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