VERMILION, Ohio — The Haslage family is still in shock and losing all of their possessions in a home explosion early Thursday. But today, they’re thankful for a community that is helping support them as they figure out what do next.
Cristol Haslage spent most of the day making trips back and forth to German’s Villa -- a makeshift drop off point for anyone willing to help.
Already, Haslage says support has been overwhelming. “They’re so giving, and I just hope that someday we’re able to give to people just like they gave to us,” she said.
Dozens of people stopped by throughout the day offering clothing, small appliances and money for Cristol’s parents who escaped the fiery explosion with just the clothes on their backs and their two dogs.
“When I get there, there was a whole bunch of smoke and when the wind blew, there was nothing. There was not a wall standing,” Haslage said, recalling the scene when she arrived after receiving a late-night phone call from her dad.
Now they’re left only with memories and stories of the past. The physical pieces of family history have all melted away.
“You work for 50 years for all of this for it to be wiped away all in one day,” she said.
A day later, new emotions have taken over as they see first-hand the generosity of the people that live in the small town of Vermilion. Haslage has already moved 3 truckloads of donations, with more continuing to come in.
She’s also grateful for those who have given online.
Describing those who have helped, she said “people across the United States, just so generous, and giving, and so kind. And there’s so many people still out here – we don’t realize.”
But they’re still in need of so much more. If you’re wondering what types of things they need, Haslage says to consider all the things you touch in your home every day.
If you’re interested in helping, donations are being accepted at German’s Villa, Northwest Bank in Vermillion, and online via Paypal.
The family says large donations, such as furniture, will be accepted during a larger event at German’s Villa on February 10th. Details will be announced at a later date.
And for those who have already taken the time to donate, the Haslage family says they’re thankful.
“It just hasn’t stopped. And it just warms my heart,” she said. “I can’t thank everybody enough.”