by: John Clark
FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — The Freeport community is rallying to help Al and Bonnie Bawinkel, who were hospitalized in critical condition after their house exploded on Tuesday.
Jeff Kaiser set up a fundraiser for his cousins on GoFundMe, saying “They were in their house when it exploded and somehow are still living. Fortunately, they just started the fight of their lives in the burn unit at St. Anthony’s hospital. They are both badly burned and in critical condition. They will be in the hospital for several months trying to recover.”
In addition, the Freeport FFA Chapter and the Harlem Helpers 4-H Club have created a GoFundMe for the family.
The Cedarville Fire Protection District announced Wednesday that it will be using proceeds from its annual fundraiser to donate to the Bawinkels recovery.
Crews were called to a home in the 4000 block of US Business 20 near Harlem Center Road around 8 p.m. for reports of an entire house on fire. Debris from the explosion littered nearby roads as crews worked to block traffic on the busy highway.
The Freeport Rural Fire Department said the occupants of the home, a man and woman, had been helped out of the house by a neighbor and passerby by the time firefighters arrived.
Officials said the residents were taken to FHN Hospital and then airlifted to a Rockford hospital. Their injuries are unknown at this time.
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