Charity taking donations for those affected by blast
Mountain Mission is accepting donations for victims of the gas line explosion near Sissonville.
John Roberts, executive director, said Mountain Mission is working in conjunction with the Red Cross to fill in the gaps for helping those who were affected by the blast.
While the Red Cross stepped up to help with immediate needs, Mountain Mission is collecting additional items for the victims and has designated space to store goods. Among suggested donations are gift cards, cash, furniture and household goods.
"We are working with the Red Cross to make sure families get what they need," Roberts said. "Fire victims may not be ready for some things, but we have cleared out space for storing them until they can be properly distributed."
He noted that Columbia Gas officials have provided hotel rooms for temporary lodging. However, once victims get back on their feet, they will need numerous items, he said.
Columbia Gas Transmission is a subsidiary of Indiana-based NiSource.
In an email received on Friday, an open letter to families was sent from Jimmy Staton, chief executive officer of Columbia Gas.
"Last Tuesday, something went terribly wrong with our natural gas pipeline near Sissonville, and we are working tirelessly with state and federal officials to find out why," the statement says.
It continues to say the company is thankful that there were no injuries but officials also realize the hardship placed on families, especially those whose homes were lost or damaged. Staton continued to express thanks to first responders and others who helped during the crisis.
"During the coming weeks, our team will be working to express that appreciation directly to residents and community organizations that provided support following the incident," he said.
"Along with community partners and support groups, we are working to help those in need by providing temporary housing and other essentials. That support will continue as long as necessary to help these families' lives return to normal."
Mountain Mission is collecting anything needed to run a household as well as gift cards and cash for the families.
Mountain Mission is at 1620 Seventh Ave. on Charleston's West Side. When dropping off items, specify that they are for Sissonville fire victims. Those who make cash donations may write "Sissonville fire victims" in the memo line. Go to www.mountainmission.com to contribute online. For further information, call Mountain Mission at 304-344-3407.
Roberts said it is a miracle that nobody was injured in the incident.
"God had his hand on the people driving down the interstate and living in the area," Roberts said.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at email@example.com or 304-348-1246.