Pregnant mom, 3-year-old facing long recovery after Raytown duplex explosion

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RAYTOWN, Mo. — A woman and child were badly hurt Monday night when a duplex exploded in Raytown.

A man also died in the explosion, now blamed on illegal fireworks. Family said he was 31 years old.

Crews have been outside for two days now, investigating and securing the site. As a chain link fence goes in around the rubble, neighbors still remember the sound that came from the duplex.

“The boom!” Terrae Porter said.

“Like something exploded,” his cousin Martine Davis said.

Porter lives across the street and ran over to help.

“The Lord put me here for a reason,” he said.

Porter and another man jumped down into the burning building and pulled two children out. Meanwhile, two other kids ran out of the duplex.

“They were screaming, ‘Get my momma out! Get my momma out!'” Porter said.

Slipping on debris and trying to outrun the fire, Porter said he spotted a pregnant woman stuck in the chaos.

“Just help, help, help and move fast because the fire was literally right there, and that’s where the woman was at,” he said.

That woman was Erica Williams; her friends said she’s 21 weeks pregnant. They got her out alive, but she broke bones in her back and one of her legs.

Her 3-year-old son also broke both his legs. Both of them are still in the hospital.

Three other kids in the duplex suffered minor injures — a concussion, cuts and bruises.

“My cousin was in there,” Davis said. “I was kind of fearing for him, so I just started praying for everybody. It was really emotional, just seeing kids out here crying. And it was like the whole neighborhood came outside, and we were trying to comfort everybody. So it was like a very touching experience.”

One person was found dead in the basement. Investigators believe it was a man making illegal fireworks. Family said it’s Williams’ longtime boyfriend and the father of their 3-year-old and baby on the way.

“It’s heartbreaking because we did what we could do for the family,” Porter said. “It was heartbreaking just seeing the people out here every day, out here just waiting and waiting and waiting, and bulldozing and everything. It was hard to see.”

The house has been destroyed, and the family has lost everything. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help them financially. It also has details for anyone who wants to donate necessities like clothing or shoes.

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