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Helping Victims of the Houston Explosion

Pooja Salhotra
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Fred Gibson

Volunteer Fred Gibson helped victims of the Houston explosion. (Photo: Whitney Allen)

A massive explosion in a Houston warehouse last Friday killed two workers and damaged hundreds of buildings and homes in the surrounding areas. The blast, which occurred around 4:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 inside a Watson Grinding and Manufacturing building, reduced the structure to rubble and forced many in the northwest Houston neighborhood of Spring Branch to evacuate their homes. 

American Red Cross has led relief efforts since the devastating event, opening an overnight shelter and distributing food and supplies to victims. And The Restoration Team, a network of churches in West Houston, has mobilized to help their neighbors in this time of crisis. If you’d like to help, check out this list of the ways to get involved, from donating canned goods to volunteering your time. 

Donating Items

  • The Brenda and John Duncan YMCA is accepting donations that will be distributed directly to those impacted by the explosion. Drop off clothing, canned goods, shoes and toiletries at 1055 Clay Road. They are open Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday, 5 a.m.-9 p.m.  

Donating Money

  • Donate funds to YMCA Houston. Contributions can be designated to the Brenda and John Duncan YMCA, and 100 percent of those contributions will be given directly to those impacted by the explosion. 
  • Donate funds on this GoFundMe to support the funeral costs of Frank Flores, one of two victims of the explosion. All proceeds from the page will go directly to Frank’s wife Margarita Flores and children to help with funeral expenses. A similar fundraiser for the second victim, Gerardo Castorena, has already ended after raising more than $12,000 for the family.
Sarah Mac Stephens, Matthew Salazar

Volunteers Sarah Mac Stephens and Matthew Salazar help clear out rubble of an affected home. (Photo: Whitney Allen)


  • The Restoration Team, a network of churches in West Houston that first came together to assist families affected by Hurricane Harvey, has been helping victims of the explosion.
  • Team Rubicon, which mobilizes veterans to deploy emergency response efforts, continued the volunteer efforts on Sunday and Monday. Currently, they have demobilized, but be sure to follow both groups on Facebook to stay tuned on any additional needs that may arise. 

Other Ways to Help
This crisis response page was created on Facebook. Users can offer or request help. Know of other ways to help? Comment below.  

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