Richmond Hill: Pulled from the fire

Olvey family was saved from burning home

INDIANAPOLIS - A year later, Glenn Olvey says he still has trouble coming back to the site of his Richmond Hill home.

"It's … it's still tough to come back here, just because of the memories," Olvey said. "My oldest daughter won't get out of the car. For the longest time, while the house was up, she couldn't look out the window."

Olvey, his wife and two daughters were pulled from the home that collapsed on them after a neighboring house exploded, damaging more than 120 houses and killing two people.

The Olveys have maintained their privacy since the disaster, but now Glen says he's ready to talk, for himself and his family.

Before the blast, Olvey used to umpire around 120 baseball games a year. By choice, he'll barely crack 40 games this year, because the noise of the game is still sometimes too unnerving.

It's just one of many scars Olvey said he and his family carry from that day in November.

"Sirens … anytime sirens go off, everyone in our house will flinch," Olvey said. "Every time the HVAC system kicks on you hear this big thump. A couple times I've caught myself crawling underneath my desk."

Olvey hasn't talked much about the Richmond Hill explosion itself. Now, he says, it's time.

"It feels like it's right to tell what we went through because … this is it," he said. "This is what we have left here."

What the Olveys have left is a plot of land where their house once stood. It's where their oldest daughter managed to escape on her own, but the rest of the family was trapped under falling portions of the wall and roof. It's where neighbors who heard their screams for help pulled them out; undoubtedly saving their lives.

Moments after the Olveys were pulled to safety, their home burst into flames.

"What if the neighbors who came and got us would have been three or four minutes later?" Olvey said, referring to when the first fire crews arrived. "We were told by the fire department that because of the damage to the house, they wouldn't have come in."

Now, the Olveys are trying to heal. For them, that process involves humor.

When asked if they're moving back to the location of their old house, Olvey paraphrases a quote from Robin Williams' character in "The World According to Garp."

"The chances of another plane hitting the house are astronomical," Williams says in the movie. "See, it's been pre-disastered. It's safe here."

Olvey said he feels the same odds in rebuilding a new home in the same spot.

"What are the odds of this happening again?" he said.

One silver lining did come out of the tragedy: Olvey's father's U.S. flag from WWII was recovered amidst the rubble. He sighs with satisfaction even today while holding it.

Olvey said they hope to start building their new home next spring or summer.

For now, when he needs to feel at home somewhere, there's always the baseball diamond.

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