Schools, businesses helping people displaced by house explosion

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) First responders are not the only ones helping those affected by the house explosion. Area schools and businesses stepped up this week to help.

Students and teachers at Vogel Elementary, just up the road from where it happened, heard and felt the explosion. Since then, the school collected donations and provided other types of help to affected families. It is one of several places that’s stepped up the past two days.

“The Vogel community and our entire area around our school, has always been very helpful,” said Principal Jeanette Lindauer. She said the help started after the explosion, and after making sure everyone in school was safe. They made sure affected families, including some with kids at the school, can start recovering.

“We have three kids that are displaced from their homes, and we are tyring right now to meet their immediate needs,” Lindauer said.

The American Red Cross used the school gym Wednesday as a center in the immediate hours after the explosion to provide relief to families, and the school started accepting gift cards and other donations since then.

“Yesterday, it was probably over $500 worth of gift cards, but they keep coming in. Schools and principals from other schools at the EVSC have Venmoed me and sent,” she explained.

Beth Sweeney of the Red Cross of Southwest Indiana says area grocery stores and restaurants are donating food to their food canteen and directly to first responders on scene since Wednesday afternoon. Among those is Donut Bank, supplying dozens of boxes of donuts to first responders on scene.

“The first night i had talked to a policeman, he was very gracious that we came down. I was like, ‘we’re not doing a lot. You’re the ones doing a lot,’” said Joe Kempf, co-owner. He also had family who lived near where it happened.

“my sister and a brother-in-law have a house on the right side of the block, right where it happened. They were buffered by two houses. My niece was there at the time, and she said it broke the glass out even though they were buffered by two houses,” he recalled.

Kempf adds they’re in touch with people on scene to see if first responders down here need anything more.

Lindauer adds school staff will make sure their students have resources needed if they were affected by what happened on Wednesday.

(This story was originally published on August 12, 2022)

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