For the families on Cleveland Drive, July 19th started off like any other day. However, the afternoon would soon show it was not.
The first reports said the house exploded due to a gas leak in the home. However, now police say Joseph Kupfer is said to have been attempting suicide based on a suicidal note found during a search of the remains of the home, as well as the burners on the stove being switched to on mode.
The explosion destroyed Kupfer’s home and many surrounding ones, many of which will have to be knocked down due to the impact and damage that the explosion left behind. Other houses around them have had to evacuate due to structural damage from the blast.
The house next door held a family of five, the Jagielski’s, who were injuries as a result. Mae Reedy, close friend of the Jagielski family, recalls hearing the explosion and then seeing her friends after they were treated in the hospital. They were all cut by glass and other debris. She said all of them are out of the hospital and staying with family members.
“The glass was just flying through the house and other objects,” said Mae Reedy.
She said Jen, the mother, protected her son just by how she was laying. She had a lot of lacerations and even had a piece of glass stuck in the back of her neck. Jen’s husband got it the worst. He was by the window in the Jagielski’s kitchen at the time of the explosion. He had to undergo emergency surgery to remove all the debris from his abdomen.
“They were digging in there for hours to make sure they got every last little piece out, and it was quite a traumatic injury and surgery,” said Reedy.
“It was so fortunate he was wearing glasses at the time of the explosion, or I think he would have had some pretty serious eye injuries.”
Reedy has two little girls the same age as Jen’s boys and are taking the explosion and the circumstances that caused it very hard.
“It’s been hard. The girls were really scared for the boys,” Reedy said.
“They were really shook up by it, um It’s obviously really scary. We dropped everything we were doing for the week to help take care of them and I think they were in shock just to see the injuries and that everything was in fact just gone.”
Reedy said she has been talking with her children a lot since the incident occurred about why it happened and that she is focusing on ensuring her children’s mental health is ok.
“We are really aware of the sad situation of this gentleman’s suicide attempt, so it’s been a hot topic. It’s been really stressful and we’re trying to really focus on my kid’s mental health through this right now because it’s so shocking for a child.”
She said she is proud of her kids for their concern and wanting to help their friends in any way, which has meant keeping the Jagielski boys’ company by playing with them. She also hails her friend Jen for her compassion toward Kupfer even with the injuries her family sustained because of his actions. She said her friend Jen was sad that Kupfer felt like he had to no other option but to end his life and that no one was there to help him.
Reedy said Jen and her family were always outside and rarely saw Kupfer, except for the occasions when he was seen driving his car.
“He was definitely going out of his way to keep to himself,” she said.
Reedy and her family, as well as the neighbors on Cleveland Drive, are still dealing with the impact the explosion made, both to their homes, as well as to their mental state.
“You think about safety, and you think about how you protect your family and yourself in your home, and it just blows your mind to think that 10 feet away from you can be a complete stranger doing something that can literally kill you,” said Reedy.
Kupfer is still in the hospital listed in critical condition in the ICU.