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Homeowners continue to recover after blast

By Jessica Rodrigo
June 2, 2014 at 1:02 a.m.

The force of the blast from an explosion rocked houses and shattered many windows in the Whispering Oaks Drive neighborhood as residents cope with the loss of their friend Haley Singer, who died when her home exploded.

If you go

• WHAT: Funeral service for Haley Singer

• WHEN: 10 a.m. Tuesday

• WHERE: First English Lutheran Church, 500 N. Main St., Victoria

HOW TO HELP

Haley Singer, 26, died in the explosion. Her daughter, 41/2-month-old Parker, survived and is being taken care of by her father, Travis Parker, and family members.

• As of Monday night, friends of the family set up a website for people to donate. As of about 7 p.m. Thursday, $75,960 had been collected. To donate, go to gofundme.com/9lyjmk.

Here are other ways to help:

• Donations are being accepted at First English Lutheran Church Office, 516 N. Main St., which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Send checks or gift cards to Victoria Communication Services, 3202 N. Navarro St., or American Bank, 4304 N. Navarro St. Write the check out to First English Lutheran Church Singer Family Recovery Fund. The church set up the fund Thursday with money raised from its annual Heritage Days event. The money will go into an account that Travis Singer can access.

• Donations accepted in the lobby of IBC Bank, 6411 N. Navarro St., until June 6. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. So far, money, clothes, diapers, wipes and changing pads have been collected. Men's clothes are needed.

• Donations accepted at Duffy's Lawn and Garden Equipment, 3705 N. John Stockbauer Drive. Open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

• Donations, except for money, are accepted at Crossroads Archery, 2801 Azalea St., or in the Town and Country shopping center. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

It's been a slow week for residents living in the Oak Colony Estates subdivision.

Homeowners Wayne and Catherine Nutter haven't spent a day away from their home since an explosion Wednesday morning leveled the house two doors down.

Haley Singer, 26, and her daughter, Parker, 41/2 months old, were found buried in the rubble of their two-story home at 801 Whispering Oaks Drive. Singer did not survive, and Parker survived with scratches and bruises. She was released Thursday.

The cause of explosion and Singer's death are still under investigation, said Ron Pray, Victoria County Fire Marshal.

"Nothing has changed since we started this," he said Monday.

Officials have completed examining the property and are waiting for test and analysis results before moving forward in the investigation, he said.

Meanwhile, nearby neighbors, like the Nutters, are trying to get back to where they were before the explosion.

"Life is slowly getting back to normal one day at a time," said Wayne Nutter, 58, from a chair on his back porch. "As best as normal as possible. It's gonna be a long time."

The green grass and trees looked undisturbed from his vantage point, but a walk from the patio around to his driveway would tell another story.

Several windows facing the cul-de-sac were damaged. The garage doors were also damaged, blown in from the powerful blast.

"There's Sheetrock damage in just about every room of the house," Nutter said.

An insurance adjuster is scheduled to visit his home early Tuesday morning to assess the damages to his home, he said.

"I can't imagine what it's like to be displaced," said Catherine Nutter, 58.

Other homeowners in the neighborhood declined to comment Monday afternoon.

Pray said it is not unusual to experience a wait for the test results to come back.

"We will continue to work on this," Pray said.

Because of the public nature of the incident, Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor has assured residents and the family of the victims that the incident would not become a spectacle.

"People are going to be curious as to going by and looking at the residence," he said.

Officers will be posted in the area and patrolling frequently throughout the day, O'Connor said, to deter any possible criminal activity.

If residents see any activity, he encourages them to call the sheriff's office.

"We have a continuing order to frequent the neighborhood," he said.

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