Residents facing long road to recovery from explosion

Residents of Richmond Hill are finding the supplies they need at a local church.
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Families who lived through the south side explosion are dealing with stress, strain and fear.

Some parents are keeping their children home from school for a few days, until they're ready to return, while others are already back in class. It all shows the individual ways people deal with disaster.

There is a quiet at the victims' aid center at Southport Presbyterian Church, where they need the quiet.

"Then certain things happen, a bang," said Tom Upton.

"It's going to take awhile. You can't even go without seeing hundreds of police officers," said one mother, picking up supplies.

"It's unnerving," a Navy veteran told Eyewitness News. "You have to show ID to get in."

Video from Chopper 13 shows homes destroyed or damaged. Even if they are back home, homeowner Robert Stevenson says there is "a lot of traffic, fire vehicles, code inspectors, a lot of that is part of your life now."

Plus, there is the constant drone of generators while you try to sleep. All reminders of what happened Saturday night.

"My wife, it's a difficult situation. She's having trouble sleeping and...but we're dealing with it," Stevenson said.

"Our neighbors need a lot more help than we do right now," another man said.

Upton worries about his kids.

"You kind of feel like things are normal," he says.

But even three days after the blast, some things happen, like a trip to the doctor's and a machine in the lab there.

"It made a horrible sound. I though I was going to jump out of my skin. My daughter made the same comment. We seem to be normal, but when these things happen, we know it's going to take some healing," he said.

Experts say those are all normal reactions after a trauma. It's when the loss of appetite or sleep continues, you should talk to a doctor.

Right now, the Red Cross encourages victims to talk about it and others to listen.

"It's just the whole thing. The boom, the sound that it made, your front door sitting in your living room," Upton said.

Upton, his son and a neighbor tried to rescue Dion and Jennifer Longworth, who died in the explosion.

"It's just...and even I feel like I'm OK," he said.