BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As crews continue to dig through rubble, many stories are emerging of neighbors rushing to help before police and fire rescue crews arrived to the Baltimore gas explosion scene in northwest Baltimore on Monday.

Council President Brandon Scott said Tuesday morning the city saw “the true spirit of Baltimore.”

“Amidst a tragedy like we saw here yesterday, you saw the true spirit of Baltimore. You had Baltimoreans rushing to try to save their neighbors,” he said.

He referred, in part, to the heroism from the neighbors at the scene.

This is how they describe the rescue, in their own words.

“And, all I heard was ‘Boom! And my house shook,” said Antoinetta Parrish. 

“It was catastrophic. It was like a bomb,” said Dean Jones.

“It literally shook that ground, to the point I thought it was an earthquake,” said Damian Simmons.

“Chaos. Chaos,” a man named Michael said.

“Our windows are shattered, and then I went outside and saw what happened,” said Shay Bond, who had recently injured her back but still went to help. 

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“My nephew was in the basement when everything went down, whereas my sister and my niece, they were on the top floors,” said Ray Daniels. 

“It’s a mess. It’s a mess,” Michael said. 

Neighbors who saw the explosion and ran toward it are credited by family members for saving lives.

“I had no shoes. Somebody had to bring me my shoes,” Jones said. 

“This man ran with no shoes on,” Parrish said, referencing Jones. 

“I took off running down the street,” Jones continued. 

“I just saw the houses flattened. All debris and rubble and furniture. That’s all you seen,” Parrish added. 

“Telephone poles split. Houses down the block. Broken glass,” Jones said.

“I could hear my neighbors yelling, ‘I’m in here. Help! Help!” Parrish said. 

“Everyone was trying to do their part. We had an assembly line going on,” said Yseem Hammett. 

One of the women involved in the rescue efforts needed medical attention herself for her back injury.

Another man who helped had been on crutches since February.

“I was in a car accident not too long ago, but I was down there digging people out, so that’s why my back is hurting,” Bond said. 

“Just throwing bricks and debris trying to get to them,” Parrish said. 

“I went in there to try to grab the stuff. Try to locate people. I heard somebody I was with yesterday was one of the people who was underneath the house.”

“It was a few of us trying to dig em out,” Bond said. 

“They had to dig him out. So the three of them are doing fine,” said Daniels. 

“I just kept telling everyone, ‘Pray y’all. Pray. Let’s pray. Let’s pray. And, let’s get them out of here, let’s move them,'” Parrish said. 

“That’s the crazy thing, because I was praying while I was there, too. When I first got there I was praying, and when firefighters were there, I was praying,” Hammett said. 

“You want people to get out alive. You don’t want to see any casualties,” Parrish said. 

“Some people got saved. Some people didn’t. That kind of kills my spirit, because you can’t save everybody,” Hammett said. 

“That’s people caring about people,” Daniels said. 

“There’s still good people out here in the world. Everybody that was helping was good people,” Hammett said. 

“They’re angels, and we all have angels looking upon us. They were able to see a situation and they leaped in,” Daniels said. 

Paul Gessler

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