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TISKILWA — A Tiskilwa-area congregation is accepting donations to help the man whose house exploded and who is recovering in a Rockford burn unit.

Cal Zehr, pastor at Hungry World Farms (the former Plow Creek), said the elders on Sunday decided to accept donations for resident Randy Hermanson, “in light of his loss.”

Zehr said Hermanson, through The Closet in Princeton, should be able to regain a lot of the household items and clothing he lost in the explosion and fire.

He lost all of his possessions — other than some cast iron pans — but both he and his beloved dog survived.

“He’s really thankful to be alive and when you look at that house, it’s amazing he’s alive and his dog’s alive,” Zehr said, adding that Hermanson has told him he has felt better each day since Friday.

Over the weekend, Hermanson made a public post and invited friends to visit him St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Rockford.

“Up until now the worst time of my life was the car crash. Now I survived a new trauma,” he told friends. “I am at St. Anthony’s in Rockford in the burn ward. I have second degree burns over 12 to 15 percent of my body. It is too early to tell how long I will be here. The first night was a rough one. With all the pain meds I am on I like to sleep a lot. I have to get my wounds cleaned daily. That is the most painful but feels good afterward.

“Belle (Hermanson’s dog) made it out safely. She has some wounds but I am not sure if the trauma has affected her brain. Right now my friend Warren Searles is taking care of her. I lost everything including my phone, and my wallet. My car was totaled from the blast,” he said.

He added that he would welcome visits from friends.

Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or ntlocal@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_NewsEditor.

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