Assistance Sought For Residents Displaced By Romeoville Gas Explosion

A gas explosion destroyed two townhomes in Romeoville’s Wespark Subdivision Oct. 11. (Laura Katauskas | Bugle Staff)


By Laura Katauskas | Bugle Staff
sweditor@buglenewspapers.com
@BugleNewspapers

A donation site has been created for families who were devastated by a gas explosion last week that leveled two townhomes in Romeoville’s Wespark Subdivision.

The American Red Cross and the village of Romeoville are assisting families that were left displaced by the Oct. 11 gas explosion in a townhome complex on Wespark Boulevard and Strawflower Court.

The American Red Cross helped 25 people, two of them children, with assistance for immediate needs, including finding them a place to stay, food and other relief items hours after the explosion. Members of the mental health services team also assisted families with emotional support to help them cope with the traumatic event.

“We continue to work closely with our government and community partners, including Romeoville Mayor John Noak and United Way of Will County, to [ensure] all those affected receive the support, services and resources they need to cope and recover,” said Patricia Kemp, communications manager for the American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois.

Two Nicor employees working on a gas main at the time were injured. No one was home at the time of the explosion. While no residents were injured, some are missing pets who may have wandered off during the evacuation.

Earlier in the day, a neighbor reported smelling a heavy gas leak at about 5:30 p.m. and decided to leave the area.

Romeoville and Lockport Township fire protection districts evacuated the area and were on scene all evening to maintain the site.

Romeoville Emergency Management Agency’s Mike Littrell said officials are continuing their investigation.

To provide additional assistance to those families affected, the village of Romeoville has set up a site to help those residents who were affected by the incident rebuild their lives and pay for necessary expenses.

Individuals who would like to make a financial contribution can visit www.romeoville.org and choose pay online. Account login information is required. For account number, enter relief-001; Last name, relief.

Gift cards and monetary donations will be accepted at Romeoville Village Hall, 1050 W. Romeo Road or the Romeoville Recreation Center, 900 W. Romeo Road. Checks should be addressed and mailed to: Romeoville Provides Relief, Village of Romeoville, 1050 W. Romeo Road, Romeoville, Illinois 60446.

Monetary donations are only being accepted at this time.

In addition, the Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria and Pub in Lemont recently hosted  a “Pack The Place” event, where 40 percent of all dine-in proceeds were donated to the families.

Any questions regarding donations should be directed to Romeoville social worker Linda Derusha at 815-886-7219 or lderusha@Romeoville.org.

Nicor Gas released a statement thanking the community for its support of the company’s two workers who were injured and saying that the company is working to ensure the impacted families have the resources they need.

“We continue to assist local authorities with the ongoing investigation, and we will be reviewing the findings of the incident once they are available,” Nicor Gas President Melvin Williams said in a statement. “Safety is our highest priority, the safety of our customers and the communities in which we live and work.”

The Red Cross does not raise funds for specific disaster or fire responses, but people can join the Red Cross effort to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on losses from home fires by making a financial donation to the Home Fire Campaign by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800 REDCROSS or texting FIRE to 90999. Additional information on home fire safety and the Home Fire Campaign is available at www.redcross.org/homefires.

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