BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Crews continued clearing debris and rubble Monday from the area around a severely damaged home at the site of a deadly explosion in Baltimore.

It’s been a week since a gas explosion rocked a northwest Baltimore neighborhood just before 10 a.m. Two people, 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott and 20-year-old Joseph Graham, died in the blast and seven others were injured. The explosion leveled three homes and severely damaged a fourth home. The fourth home was set to be demolished Monday.

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Crews clear debris at the site of the deadly gas explosion in Baltimore. Credit: WJZ

The Baltimore City Fire Department continues to lead the investigation into the explosion. Last week, Baltimore Gas & Electric said after inspecting its gas main and gas lines, it determined it wasn’t a problem on their end that caused the blast.

Over the weekend, hundreds of volunteers gathered to help clear rubble at the scene, and as families impacted by the blast work to pick up the pieces, new organizations have taken over collecting and distributing donations.

Nonprofits CMLS Breaking the Chains Ministry, Rooted Love and two volunteers who both work for Baltimore County Public Schools are using their time to help heal.

For Shirley Brown of the Empowerment Temple, the mission is personal. The four-year cancer survivor said along her journey someone helped her and now it’s her turn.

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“There was someone on my journey who sit with me at chemotherapy, someone who gave me water, and I said once I got myself back up and running I would be a blessing to someone else,” she said.

Volunteer Samantha Ham said it was a calling that led her to help.

“It could have been my sister, my family, so I’m like, ‘I gotta do something,'” she said.

Brown agreed.

“We are only here to do His work and give Him the glory,” she said. “That’s what this is about; it’s about taking care of our sisters and brothers.”

Lydia Murray with CMLS Breaking the Chains Ministry had a message for those affected.

“You’re loved, you’re loved,” she said. “Hey guys, I’m sorry you had to go through this, but you’re loved. Your stuff is important, your life is important, your struggles are important and people care about the things you need.”

Organizers said they’re working to put together a list of specific items the families impacted by the explosion need. Murray will post that list on her Facebook page.

 

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Graham’s family spoke at a press conference Monday morning. The Empowerment AME Temple said it will be covering a substantial amount of the cost for the victims’ funerals, but are asking for donations at baltimorestrong.org. Choose “Labyrinth Rd Victim Fund” as the specific fund for your donation.

Rachael Cardin