'It’s been just overwhelming': support pours in after Wheatley explosion
A week after a massive explosion rocked downtown Wheatley, residents are amazed at the amount of support they are receiving in town and from a far.
It has been a whirlwind for Wheatley Disaster Relief team member Kimberley Grant, who says everyone has stepped up in the explosion aftermath.
“It’s been just overwhelming,” says Grant. “It is very touching, especially for Wheatley, we’re kind of a forgotten little town.”
Crews are still cleaning up after officials believe hydrogen sulfide gas exploded on Aug. 26 – destroying or damaging several downtown buildings.
“I heard the explosion and my whole house shook,” says Grant.
Grant, also the BIA treasurer, lives nearby, but isn’t one of the dozens of residents and businesses still evacuated due to the blast.
“Most of them are in limbo at this point,” says Grant. “I think they’re checking with their insurance companies.”
The Wheatley Area Foodbank was one of the facilities evacuated and has setup a temporary location on Talbot Road.
“We didn’t really get a whole lot out,”says Foodbank director Susan Fulmer. “We left paper products behind, we left dry goods behind.”
Fulmer says it’s difficult when there’s no timeline to return.
“We’ll just wait and see what they tell us, of course you always want to go back to your home base and I’m sure that the people who left their houses and to go back to their houses as well,” says Fulmer.
The foodbank is helping out displaced residents in hotels and is grateful for the extra donations.
“The community is really coming together and it’s very encouraging to see that,” says Fulmer.
The Wheatley Strong Campaign is another example of support.
“My cousin Jessica and I came up with this idea that we could sell t-shirts and all of the money would go to the relief fund,” says one of the creators Abbey Hopper.
Organizers received a great response for the t-shirts even beyond the town.
“No matter if they’re in Wheatley, out in Windsor, even in the states, like we all kinda come together,” says Hopper.
Hopper says the support is heartwarming.
“Wheatley is a small community, but we all support each other, so it doesn’t surprise me that we’ve reached the point that we have,” says Hopper.
Grant thinks the support will be needed for a long time.
“I would say it’s going to take several years,” says Grant. “The cleanup and they have to find the cause.”
There is also a GoFundMe page to help displaced families, impacted businesses and first responders.