By Stephen Janis
Special to the AFRO

The fallout from a tragic explosion that destroyed several Northwest Baltimore row homes and claimed two lives continued this week.

On Monday the Empowerment Temple Church sought help with funeral expenses for the victims of the deadly blast. At a press conference WJZ reported Pastor GJ Barnes asked the community to assist the families grieving from the sudden and tragic loss to help defray expenses.

“As many of us know funeral expenses are not small and as a church, we have stepped up to the plate to ensure that we will be providing support. The support that we are providing is substantial, but we want to ensure that the family has the ability to mourn the loss of their loved ones in a way to their choosing,” Barnes said.

The Northwest Baltimore explosion destroyed three row homes and killed 20-year-old Morgan State University student Joseph Graham and 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott. (Photos via Twitter @DMVDaily and @VSNMarylandr)

The funds will go to pay for funerals for Joseph Graham, 20, a Morgan State student who was killed in the blast and Lonnie Herriot, 61 who also died in the explosion.

The explosion rocked the Northwest Baltimore neighborhood not far from Reisterstown Plaza on August 10.

The blast destroyed three homes, damaged at least half a dozen others and injured seven people.  The aftermath left the community reeling with severe damaged homes and at least half a dozen families displaced.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. There were no reports of gas leak prior to the blast.  Baltimore Gas and Electric has determined that company equipment was not involved or the cause of the accident.

BGE also said the gas pipes in the neighborhood were inspected in June 2019, and no leaks were found.

Meanwhile the community continued to mourn the loss of Graham and Herriot.

Graham was a sophomore at Morgan State who was studying electrical engineering.  Before attending Morgan, he graduated from City College in Baltimore.  The family says Graham had recently started his own clothing line, “Chase a Plate.”

Relatives told the Baltimore Sun Herriot was an outgoing, fun loving woman who liked to dance and spend time with friends.

People who wish to donate can visit the Empowerment Temple website at  Or they can visit Choose “Labyrinth Rd Victim Fund” as the specific fund for your donation.