NEWMAN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Newman community is coming together to help after a woman recently died in a house explosion.
Shalonda Bailey, 51, passed away at Springfield Memorial Hospital at 8:11 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10. Her home, located at 306 Broadway Street in Newman, was completely destroyed by the blast and damaged at least one nearby home.
The Corn Crib and the C&C Fast Stop are working with community member Staci Swink to organize a memorial service honoring Shalonda Bailey on Sunday at 3 p.m.
As a part of the service, individuals can purchase a lunch bag for $5. They will be able to decorate it and write a message for the family, said Swink. Tea lights will be available to placed inside the bag. All of the bags will ben be arranged on a pathway lighting up Newman Park.
The American Legion Post #201 is also helping by providing sandwiches and drinks. Monetary donations are encouraged for the family at the Legion, Corn Crib, and C&C Fast Stop.
Swink remembers Shalonda fondly, and said she “always had a smile on her face. Nothing like this ever happened in Newman, so it rocked everybody to their core.”
During the explosion, Swink said she and her husband were near Shalonda’s home. “We were walking when the house exploded, and my husband ran in. My ears are still ringing.”
Swink said she smelled gas, as did many other people in the town. “The town is really wanting answers,” said Swink. “It could have been anybody’s house.”
The small town came together immediately, “I tell you what, when that happened, the amount of people that came out to help in a really small town was huge. No one asked what to do, and they just jumped in.”
Swink and the rest of the community are hoping the memorial service will be able to bring some peace to a family faced with a tragedy no one ever expected.