Damage to the pole that caught fire immediately before outlets in the Eubanks' home began to burn.

By Nicole D. Batey,
Special to the AFRO

A home in historic Morgan Park caught fire this month after a BGE transformer near the home exploded.

On April 6 at 2:07 am siblings Leonora and Caleb Eubanks were awakened out of their sleep in their family home in the 2000 block of College Avenue by the loud explosion. A fire soon erupted in different areas of the home. 

Thankfully, everyone, including their two cats, Gigi and Tenacious, made it out of the house safely.

As the Eubanks woke up from the noise, a fire broke out in Leonora’s room. She quickly grabbed an extinguisher and put it out. 

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“A neighbor’s doorbell camera caught footage of the explosion that occured outside of the Eubanks’ home, immediately before their electrical outlets erupted into fire.”

Their control panel was completely fried and electrical sockets were burning throughout the house. They then heard continuous loud banging that rattled the house. In just their socks and carrying their pets, the Eubanks ran out the back door, through the mud to a neighbor’s house, who called 911.

“We didn’t have time to put on shoes or grab our phones, we just started running in our socks,” said Leonora. “We ran to the front door but all the banging sounded closer to the front door, so we ran to the back door.”

“It sounded as if the banging was at the back door too, but we were willing to chance it,” she continued. “We ran outside, jumped over the railing, and booked it in the rain, through the mud, trying not to get taken out by the twigs underneath our feet.”

Firefighters arrived on the scene and quickly entered the property. A fire, which had started in the basement, was eventually brought under control by crew members. Their actions prevented a gas explosion that could have damaged multiple homes in the area.

This fire could have been worse without the quick and clear thinking of all parties present, and the family’s forethought to have a fire extinguisher.

Leonora said she is “trying not to replay the horror of it, the terrifying moments of it.”

“The fact that we survived it and were able to walk away from it, I’m grateful and blessed,” she said. “But it was traumatic for my brother and me. It’s a lot.”

BGE crews were out in full force the day of the explosion. The company’s workers could be seen replacing the transformer box and damaged pole that was located on the left side of the Eubanks house, over their driveway. 

A BGE claims specialist was also present and gave the Eubanks his contact information.

Leonora and her brother are hoping that BGE will accept responsibility for what happened. “It was their transformer, and on camera it looks like the explosion started out of nowhere. It was raining that night, but no lightning struck it.”

Damage to the pole that caught fire immediately before outlets in the Eubanks’ home began to burn.

A neighbor’s door camera recorded the whole ordeal, including the moments leading up to the transformer exploding. 

A small fire breaks out along the power lines, just before the transformer explodes. Fire burns the top part of the pole, which falls into bushes, bringing down the power lines and cable line with it.

Stephanie Weaver, a BGE representative, has stated that the incident is under investigation. They are not associating the transformer explosion with the house fire, and are treating it as two separate incidents.

The fire caused the Eubanks to be displaced to a downtown hotel with their cats. They’re looking for a rental to stay in, as they meet with contractors to repair their home. 

Due to severe smoke damage, everything has been removed from their house, and most of their items will need to be replaced.

Leonora, a yoga instructor, and Caleb, a fitness instructor, are both hourly employees who have had to miss work, due to this traumatic experience. 

Donations are greatly appreciated and can be sent to:

1)CashApp: $Lea4Health

2)PayPal: @LeanoraEubanksERYT

3)Zelle: 410-800-7779 or Lea4Health@gmail.com

“We are incredibly blessed that the entire home didn’t explode creating a catastrophe for Morgan Park. Praise God & Ancestors my brother and I are physically unharmed, along with neighbors and first responders,” said Leonora. “Caleb and I are in shock and still in stress response mode as we navigate this stressful remediation process. We are so deeply grateful for the support Morgan Park neighbors have shown.” 

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