While most of us in the USA were asleep in the wee hours of Thanksgiving
morning 2006, dreaming, perhaps, of that luscious Thanksgiving feast awaiting us
later in the day, residents of Danvers (in the section known as Danvers Port) were
blasted from their beds...literally.
A nearby paint factory exploded just hours before dawn leveling some houses
and destroying, to varying degrees, many others. The blast was heard as far as
25 miles away from the site and registered as a significant "earthquake" on local
Doors were blown off their hinges, windows exploded throwing shards of glass
everywhere. Yet, miraculously, not a single person died. Injuries were few and
minor. Most of this was attributed to the fact that people were lying down in their
beds, asleep, covered up with blankets and other bedding to ward off the late fall
New England chill.
Now, many months later, some families are back in their homes...most are not.
From the 89-year-old resident who vows to leave senior housing and return to
her home to little Justin who attends the weekly Maple Street Church-sponsored
dinners with his grandma, residents come together every Thursday night to share
their stories, their struggles, and their strength.
The First Spiritualist Church of Salem is helping. Two church members, David
LeClair (grandson of the founder of our church and Director of Healing Services)
and Debbie LeClair (also a descendant of early pioneers of our church and a
long-time member) were directly impacted by the blast. They remained in their
home, but the damage was significant and their house is still under reconstruction,
like so many others in Danvers Port.