BRADENTON, Fla. - The family of a father and son who survived an explosion, apparently caused by a gas leak near their Manatee County home last week, is thanking the community for its support.
Adrian Lopez and his son, Adrian Lopez, Jr. are stable, but still hospitalized, and have a long road to recovery, family members said Monday.
"I remember him on his best days and it's hard to see him right now in the hospital bed," Adrian Lopez’s brother, Roger Lopez said during a press conference Monday.
Roger said he once lived with his brother’s family in the home that exploded into flames last Thursday.
"I can't even look at it. It's just so hard and it's devastating," Roger said of the house, now missing a roof and severely damaged by flames.
Last Thursday, crews were called to the neighborhood to stop a natural gas leak.
Less than three hours later, the Lopez family’s home exploded, sending the father and 23-year-old son to the hospital with severe burns.
Adrian Lopez’s daughter, Karina says they're stable and recovering.
"For burn victims, it takes a long time to heal and my mom is still in shock of everything and of course the images just keep playing in her head," Karina explained.
She was at work at the time of the blast and got a call from her mother about their home.
Days later, Karina and Roger Lopez still can't believe it. But they're also stunned by the outpouring of support they've received from the community. That's what brought them to hold a news conference with county leaders Monday.
"Thank you to everyone who's been helping us, all the community that's been reaching out to us," Karina said.
Manatee County Commission Chairman Carol Whitmore said, "We will make sure that this family gets taken care of for this terrible tragedy."
Authorities are in the beginning stages of their investigation into what happened. Meanwhile, the Lopez family will try to heal, physically and emotionally.
"I can only imagine what they will go through,” Roger Lopez said of his brother and nephew. “They're being strong about it so hopefully they will come through."
It’s unclear how many families were told to evacuate the area before the explosion, but the Lopez family was not, according to their attorney.
An online fundraiser has been established to help the family at https://gf.me/u/zbcmwj.