Richmond Hill residents in homes originally deemed safe now forced to move out

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The victims of the south side disaster are facing new problems. Some of the homes that were determined to be safe now aren’t. Several families are moving out of their homes three months after the explosion.

“Nobody realizes that we’re still going through it all,” said Theresa Carmichael, who moved out of her home last Friday. “Nobody ever wants to leave their home.”

When Carmichael knew her family could initially stay in their home after the blast, she immediately stepped up to help those who lost everything. Neighbors even call her deputy mayor.

“When all this happened, I felt that I was lucky for my family to be in my home. So I just kind of put everything on hold,” she said. “I felt thankful, I felt fortunate.”

However, Theresa began to see more problems in her house as weeks went by. The floors and walls were buckled, cabinets separated and her entire stairwell came loose. They even had to duct tape their front door to keep the cold air from coming in.

“The temperatures changed from hot to cold. It just kept getting worse and worse,” Carmichael said. “[The door] has been two by four-ed since two days after the explosion because the front door blew open.”

Visits from four contractors confirmed their home of nine years was unlivable. It took the family a week to move out and into an apartment nearby. All but 20 boxes are now in storage.

Theresa can only describe it, as overwhelming.

“I think it just kind of hit me, you know?” she said. “[There’s] so many emotions. There was anger. Life is hard enough already.”

Neighbors call 2013 a year of rebuilding for Richmond Hill. Despite what’s to come, Theresa is staying positive while they all start anew. Contractors told her it may about eight to 12 weeks before she can move back home.

“It’s an adjustment,” Carmichael said. “We will come out and we will rise from it. It’s just the emotional roller coaster.”

Meanwhile, Moncy Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard, and his brother, Robert, each face 100 charges in the explosion that killed two people. Both Shirley and Mark Leonard have asked to have their trials moved out of Marion County because of all of the publicity surrounding the case. So far, no decision has been made in either change of venue request.

3 comments

  • marty

    just one minor point, but i find it annoying enough to ask the question: why do some reporters and anchors at this station insist on referring to the woman at the center of the southside disaster by her nickname, "moncy" instead of her full name, "monserrate"? this wasn't a one-time occurence. its happened several times and even in the above article, reporter, yvonne mann, calls her "moncy" shirley instead of monserrate shirley. and in giving an update on the criminal case, bob donaldson referred to the woman as "moncy" shirley, even though the on-screen graphic identified her as monserrate shirley.
    can someone please explain this to me?

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