Survivor of house explosion now homeless

December 2, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Twenty-nine-year-old Quincy Forrest says he is still in shock that an explosion leveled his family's home. One minute he was inside his house on a chilly Sunday evening; the next he was hearing voices of paramedics trying to rescue him from what remained of his home after an explosion.

Forrest was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He survived the blast, but now he has to figure out what's next.

He is unable to move without pain. But the fact that Forrest is alive seems nothing short of miraculous. He was inside his family's Far South Side house and had just gotten off the phone with his mother when the house exploded. The blast literally blew what was left of his possessions into the neighborhood trees.

"I don't have anything. No ID, no clothes, absolutely nothing," said Forrest.

He spent three days in the hospital being treated for second degree burns all over his body. Forrest also has cuts on his face. His mother changes the dressing on his injuries because they have no nurse to do it.

Forrest has little memory of what happened before, during and after the explosion. When firefighters arrived they found debris scattered everywhere but no fire. The blast was so strong it destroyed the house and damaged neighboring homes but never ignited in flames.

"I'm still numb. It's leaving me speechless," said Angela Forrest, Quincy's mother.

Angela Forrest goes to school in Minnesota. Her son was looking for work in the Chicago area. They have no insurance either for the home, which has been in their family for 20 years, or to cover medical expenses. A voucher from the Red Cross allowed the mother and son to stay in a hotel room for a couple days after getting out of the hospital.

"Tomorrow is my last day and checkout is at noon," said Quincy Forrest. "I don't know what I'm going to do."

Fire department investigators were looking at natural gas as a possible cause of the explosion. However, they have not yet made a final determination.

In the meantime, the family has enlisted an attorney to help consider their legal options.

How to help
Those who would like to help Forrest can call Red Cross at (312) 729-6204.

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