Family members have identified the man found dead from a South St. Paul home explosion.
The fundraiser said the community's support could help pay for Ryan Richards' funeral and for the care of their paraplegic mother, Ester, 77, who requires a wheelchair.
"As we grapple with the pain and loss, we're left with uncertainty about the full extent of the tragedy and the cost that will befall on my mom," Nhu's fundraiser read. "In the wake of losing everything in the house these funds will play a substantial role in helping my mother rebuild what was lost, allowing her to regain somewhat a sense of comfort and stability."
Emergency responders said blasts at the home, located on the 1200 block of 9th Avenue S., started at around 6:18 a.m. Thursday. Neighbors reported hearing loud bangs that shattered windows and shook items from cupboards, looking outside to see flames spewing from Richards' home.
The fire engulfed the house, lighting the sky orange and sending plumes of smoke into the air that were captured by traffic cameras on Interstate 494, but was quickly extinguished. The house was leveled, and crews reported finding a male body in the debris hours later.
Neighbor Mike Schuno, 67, was letting his dog Pally out the morning of the explosion. He said Ester and Ryan Richards were friendly, adding that Ryan Richards had a large garden that he shared with others.
"He grew the biggest tomatoes you ever seen, and he would always knock on my door. He says, 'Hey, buddy, you want some fresh veggies?' and I says, 'Who in their right mind wouldn't want some fresh veggies?'" Schuno said. "So he was a wonderful guy."
It's unclear what caused the blasts.
Staff writers Paul Walsh and Kim Hyatt contributed to this report.