Pacers host victims of south side explosion

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The victims of the south side explosion got a free chance to forget their worries for awhile Friday night.

The Indiana Pacers provided 250 tickets to the team's game against Dallas Friday night for Richmond Hill residents and their families.

A family night of fun and a chance to lift some spirits is exactly what Cathy and Craig Burns needed. Along with dozens of other families, they received free Pacers tickets, food vouchers and a meet-and-greet after the game with George Hill and Tamika Catchings.

"So much fun. Everybody was excited," Cathy Burns said. "Everybody's glad just to have something to do and take your mind off of it."

For the past week, the simple joy of spending time together, simply hasn't happened. The Burns' home in Richmond Hill was one of 86 damaged in Saturday night's explosion.

"Thank God nobody was there at the time. We had been at a family wedding and were on our way back and we're really happy nobody was there," Burns said.

But for a week, the Burns' grandchildren haven't been able to come over to play like they usually do. The house is too badly broken and, right now, can't be lived in. Explaining the explosion to the little ones has been tough, too.

"We actually drove them by the house so they kind of understood what was going on, because they just...they were thinking that our house exploded, when it really just had a lot of damage to it," Burns explained.

"All the doors got broke, all the garage doors," said her nephew, Blayne.

But that damage was far from their minds on this night. This was a chance to be normal again.

"It's great just to see everybody with smiles on their faces again, because it's been a very emotional week," said the Burns' son-in-law, Chris Glidden.

"So it's really fun to come out and get to spend time with everybody and relax and have fun," added the Burns' daughter, Lindsey Glidden.

With an assist from the Pacers, at least for a few hours, family and fun were all that mattered. The Pacers won Friday's game, 103-83.

Families also got a financial boost at the game. The Pacers and the Colts each presented $10,000 checks to the Red Cross. Much of that money will go toward victims of the explosion.