Pregnant mother injured in Raytown explosion says family starting to rebuild lives

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RAYTOWN, Mo. — The mother who survived the explosion of her family’s Raytown duplex says they are starting at ground-zero rebuilding their lives.

With a broken back and leg, Erica Williams tries to get her footing moving forward without her longtime boyfriend and father to her children.

She said her partner, her person, 31-year-old Natjuan Taylor-Jones died in the blast. 

“I’m just ready to wake up from this nightmare,” Williams said.

Williams is recovering in the hospital after their duplex exploded. 

She said it was a big blur.

“I remember sitting in the living room with my kids watching TV,” Williams said. “Next thing I know, everything was just shaking.”

Williams said their bodies were thrown from the top floor to the basement

“I just remember waking up hearing my baby screaming, crying for help,” Williams said.

That was her 3-year-old crying for help. He’s currently in a different hospital with two broken legs.

“I’ve FaceTimed him and he misses mommy,” Williams said. “He misses me. I need to be there, I need to get out of here so I can be with my kids.”

Unfortunately, that could be awhile. Williams broke her leg and several places in her back. She’s also 21 weeks pregnant.

“I am in so much pain,” Williams said.

The pain stretches from physical to emotional.

Williams said longtime boyfriend Taylor-Jones died in the explosion. He’s the father of their 3-year-old and the baby on the way.

“I am completely heartbroken right now,” Williams said. “My heart is in pieces without my other half.”

Investigators believe a person was in the basement making illegal fireworks.

Williams said the 31-year-old loved the Fourth of July and did recently buy fireworks, but said he has never tried making them.

“I believe he may have just had a faulty one. He does not and he did not make fireworks,” Williams said.

A friend to Natjuan dropped off roses. The former owner of the duplex also drove by offering condolences. 

“My heart just dropped because of all the good memories that my husband and I had there before we moved,” former duplex owner Ludelia Cowan said. 

Williams is moved by the support and that an officer, the neighbors and her 14-yearr-old daughter pulled them out of the fire. 

“If it wasn’t for her, we would not be here,” Williams said.

As a survivor starting over, Williams is determined to make a good life for her four — soon to be five — children.

“All I can do is walk out and step out on faith. I have God by my side, and I will not give up,” Williams said. “My babies need me. So we will make it.”

Williams said her baby’s due date is the same day as Natjuan’s birthday.

Friends are raising money to help Erica and her family. Over $9,000 has been raised so far. If you would like to help out, CLICK HERE.

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