Associated, CHAI Help Out in Explosion’s Aftermath

(Jesse Berman)
(Jesse Berman)

Two people died Monday, Aug. 10, when a gas explosion rocked Labyrinth Road in the Fallstaff neighborhood. It leveled three homes and damaged about 20 others. Seven people were seriously wounded.

The neighborhood is home to CHAI, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore that serves community development and housing needs. The Associated is working with CHAI to establish an emergency fund to support rebuilding efforts. After insurance companies make their assessments and repairs, CHAI will use 100% of donations for additional home repair, supplies and clean-up services or more community needs.

“Our role in the neighborhood is to generally support community needs. So it is a natural goal for us. The way we do our community work is to be responsive to needs of the residents,” said Lisa K. Budlow, CHAI’s CEO. She does not have a time estimate for the project, as there are still many unknowns. For example, she believes the affected houses is more than the estimated 20. She hopes CHAI will rebuild this block so that residents can return.

Baltimore City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer of the District 5 made initial connections and needs assessments.

“I have been out on the scene for 15 hours a day coordinating resources and connecting city agencies to our constituents in need. We have been helping residents get back into their homes to retrieve medications, clothing and other essential personal items,” Schleifer said in a press release.

Today, Aug. 13, his office completed the first phase of cleanup, which included debris removal. About five people from Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim helped with this phase. Insurance companies are now allowed on site and will initiate the second phase Monday.

Budlow said CHAI is ready to jump in and assist with on-site service as soon as they are allowed to.

Furthermore, CHAI partnered with Fallstaff Improvement Association, Maryland CASA, Fallstaff Elementary school, Maryland Food Bank and the City of Baltimore for a food distribution this morning.

“Right away we heard from partners who reached out to ask how they can help. In my experience that’s how things come together in Baltimore,” Budlow said. “I think in the space of a tragedy, it’s always uplifting to see the community come together. There was an outpouring of offers for support from our sister agencies and partners in home repair and a number of people and organizations were ready to respond.”

You can donate at There is no monetary goal at this time.

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