12:16 AM EST, November 13, 2012
Those impacted by the explosion that rocked a South Indianapolis neighborhood met in a nearby church on Monday night to find out when they can begin to clean up and move forward.
The Indianapolis Department of Code enforcement was on hand to answer questions. As of Monday night, 29 homes remained off limits. Some of them need structural fixes before residents are allowed back. Other homes, like the one belonging to Dan Able and his family, are a total loss.
"The ceilings have all fallen in pretty much and insulation everywhere and glass everywhere," Able said. "All the windows were all blown out. It's like a shell of a home but it's still standing."
Able says he's grateful that he and his family are also still standing. They were home when the explosion took out the two homes directly across the street.
Lance Gregoire also owns a home across the street from the blast, but moved out recently while trying to sell it. Now he couldn't move back if he wanted to.
"The front is all blown open," Gregoire said. "The front door is blown open, the garage door is blown open, all the glass in the front is blown open and it actually blew the back door out, off it's frame."
Many of the families that remain displaced by the explosion came to the church on Monday night looking for reassurance.
"I guess one of the biggest concerns was possible looting and making sure that the community is being safe," Gregoire said. "And being able to get back into their homes."
Though code enforcement is still keeping those homeowners away, officials say they are working as quickly as they can without compromising safety.
"At this time we're kind of taking it hour by hour, day by day until we have a little bit more information," said Adam Collins spokesperson for the Department of Code Enforcement.
For now, many of the neighbors were simply happy to get a warm meal and give thanks for what they can.
"Today in the daylight you could see the vast devastation so it's pretty amazing that more people weren't hurt," Able said. "I mean that's what really amazed me after seeing what I saw today."
Tonight Able said he was also amazed to see so much support from the community. His daughter's friend drove up to deliver clothes just as the meeting ended.
"That part of it has been a great experience," Able said. "So you know, we can only count our blessings and it's going to get better."
Southport Presbyterian has been collecting and distributing all kinds of donations for victims of the explosion. Church officials say they have received many generous donations of food and clothing. They say they are most in need of monetary donations or gift cards that they can provide to families.