Michigan community chooses to help each other in times of need after explosion

By Jamie Sherrod, James Paxson

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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – Final fire damage assessments from the Flint explosion are due next week as neighbors help each other during this local disaster.

Earl Marshall Jr. saw and felt the impact of the explosion on Hogarth Avenue in Flint on Monday night.

“It was just a horrible explosion that rocked the whole house. I heard glass fall and the lights went out,” Marshall said.

It happened right next to his house.

“When I looked at the houses, we saw the orange glow that we all took off and we went down to see if we could help in any way,” Marshall said.

It was too late, when he left the scene he noticed that his own house had been damaged.

“I blew the glass from my front windows inside. Things falling from the walls. He actually blew up big paint stains on my ceiling in the living room, it was crazy, ”Marshall said.

Marshall didn’t know how he was going to get through the cold night. He shared the damage on Facebook and that post led to some much needed help.

“Another parishioner, Regina, from my church called and said, ‘I have boards in my garage if you want to come and get them,’ Marshall said. “So I went to get them, we brought them back, we made the windows.”

Marshall hands it over to a neighbor whose windows were also smashed by the explosion.

“We had extra planks and there’s a house across the street where she was installing plastic, so I gave her the rest to cover her windows as well,” Marshall said.

“I had the stuff here, I had it to give and he wouldn’t have had a way to heat his house and I would have been angry if he hadn’t taken it,” said Regina Elmore.

Elmore said she had no hesitation in helping Marshall who announced her gratitude on social media.

“I posted a message on Facebook to let Regina know that she has blessed more than me,” Marshall said.

Not only was Marshall given plywood to cover his windows, but when he got home from work on Wednesday there was another surprise, a care package lying on his porch.

“There is a plastic installation kit in my mailbox, a waterbox with food in it,” Marshall said.

Courtesy of Genesee Health System, which is just one of many organizations rallying to help those affected by the tragedy.

“It’s great. It gives you faith in humanity again, the city is a violent city but there are some good people in it,” Marshall said.

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