Richmond Hill couple rebuilds home in devastated neighborhood

Karnes family feels happiness, guilt

INDIANAPOLIS - Homeowners in the Richmond Hill neighborhood are ready to move forward and rebuild.

Michelle and her husband Mark Karnes are homeowners who lived down the street from where investigators say the explosion happened.

Special Section: Indy Explosion

The Karnes family is rebuilding their home and expects to move back in next month.

On Friday, their neighbor, Monseratte Shirley, was charged in connection with the explosion and that confirmed their worst suspicions.

The couple, who was displaced from their home, feels lucky and guilty at the same time.

Their home will be rebuilt with new paint, drywall and a new heating system. This haunts Mark Karnes daily.

“That’s the problem I have. Everybody’s lost everything. We haven’t lost anything. Things will be better than before, that’s the problem I’m having,” Mark Karnes said.

“Kids lost their dogs. They’ll never have their dogs again, and we lost nothing. We don’t deserve this blessing,” Michelle Karnes said.

Since the explosion, the Karnes have been dealing with the devastation around them. They have worked on putting the pieces back together.

The couple knows feeling comfortable inside their house will take time.

They are most excited to have their kitchen and front porch back.

“We’re hoping spring and summer will kind of be like a rebirth. Anybody that knows our family and friends knows that our porch is legendary,” Michelle Karnes said.

They are excited to make their new house feel like home, but they still have hesitations.

“It’s just not going to be the same even though we’ll be back in our house,” Michelle Karnes said. “I already told Mark, I feel like I’m going to have anxiety issues the first week or two back in the house because I haven’t slept there.”

The couple said they can’t say enough about the support they received from Southport Presbyterian Church. The church provided them with a Christmas tree for their temporary apartment.

“That’s the major bright part, even more than going back to the house. These people were caring and sharing enough to do this for all of us,” Michelle Karnes said.

Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard and Robert Leonard were charged Friday with 48 felony counts, including murder and arson, in the Nov. 10 explosion. They are set to appear in court Monday.

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