By Jamie Leary
DENVER (CBS4) – One day after a massive explosion rocked Denver’s Baker neighborhood a handful of residents were allowed back to the scene to collect belongings. Nine people were injured, one critically, on Tuesday afternoon in a large explosion believed to have been caused by natural gas.
“When we first went in there, all the walls were torn off and stuff was falling everywhere and dust covered everything,” said Elliot Sandoval.
Alongside his stepfather, Elliot combed through what was left. He says, until Tuesday, 364 Santa Fe Drive was his home for the last six years.
“The computer has a lot of rocks and dust all over it so I’m assuming it will be pretty hard to fix,” Elliot said.
Not much was left, but Elliot loves music and art. He was glad his guitar and sketch materials were salvageable.
Elliot and his mother, Elizabeth, were not home at the time of the explosion, but Elizabeth’s husband was.
“He said he thought that it was an earthquake and jumped under a desk,” she said.
Her husband was miraculously was unharmed, but the family cat, Kovu, is still missing.
One person was trapped and had to be rescued by emergency crews and two others who were injured were rushed to the hospital. One of those patients suffered traumatic, severe injuries.
On Wednesday, Elizabeth and her family piled their belongings onto the corner of the street. The Red Cross has provided them with some money and a place to stay, but they have no renters insurance. They will have to start over completely.
“We are starting to get what we need,” said Elizabeth.
The family has a long way to go. Elizabeth and Elliot have set up a GoFundMe Page to help recover from their losses. She says the community support has been amazing and because of it, is confident she will get back on her feet.
“I think this community is amazing. I know for this whole Baker neighborhood… it’s historic. This has kind of I’m sure hurt the whole neighborhood, but just seeing everyone come together has been amazing.”
It wasn’t long before a good samaritan came by to help pack with the family and get them to their hotel.
GoFundMe emailed CBS links to fundraisers for other victim’s of the explosion if you would like to help:
This campaign Meghan Meehan, who lost everything and was hospitalized with injuries that put her out of work for some time:
This campaign is for Matt Brady, who also lost everything due to the explosion:
Denver Fire is now working with the ATF and says for an incident of this scale, calling on federal help is protocol. The investigation is not criminal at this point, investigators are working to rule that out as a cause.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.