BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Two members of the Johnson family left the hospital on Thursday, while two others continue their recovery from the tragic explosion that destroyed their Wilson home and killed 14-year-old daughter Sarah.
Johnson family minister Rev. Bill Lowery, Jr. said, "They also want me to express to all those who made contributions at this point thank you, they are overwhelmed."
Rev. Lowery spoke on behalf of the family as Jody Johnson and his 16-year-old son, Nathan, were released from ECMC on Thursday. Jody's wife, Judy, is in fair condition and their 18-year-old daughter, Katie, is still in critical condition in the burn treatment unit. The minister says the family is coping with this tragedy through their faith.
|>> Full Coverage: See photos of the explosion, the victims, and the vigil. Listen to audio of crews learning of the devastation. Read stories about the community coming together for the Johnson family. And find out how you can help.|
"This is a family that has an incredibly deep faith in God. It is the rock in which they stand," Rev. Lowery said.
Now that their house is gone, a friend has donated a five-bedroom apartment for the Johnsons to live along Lake Ontario while they try to put their lives together. Funeral arrangements are still being made for Sarah as the family grieves.
Rev. Lowery said, "Do they hurt? Absolutely. Are they in pain? Absolutely. Will they grieve? Absolutely. But they have a hope that is beyond this world."
The explosion left a debris field of 300 yards. Investigators are looking for the exact cause, but are focusing on a propane tank. First responders say there's a simple way to check for leaks.
Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth said, "You can take a sprayer with hot, soapy water. And if the tank is on and you start to see bubbles, that's how HAZMAT will check in cases for leaks."
On Wednesday, the American Red Cross met with Jody and Judy at ECMC. Typically, the Red Cross can offer families shelter for about two days. But as this case is atypical, the Red Cross says the family will have the option to consider grants and referrals for more assistance.
Any First Niagara bank is accepting donations for the family. Just walk in, and ask a teller.
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