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Rapatee family mourns loss of mother and brother after home explosion

The victims in a Rapatee home explosion were identified at 77-year-old Wanda Swain and her 51-year-old son David Swain, Jr. The home they were in was completely demolished, a heartbreaking shock for the whole community. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal, but it was believed to be accidental.

Wanda Swain was a mother of three. She had two daughters and a son, David, Jr. He also lost his life in the explosion at 11:17 Sunday morning. Today, their family stood in the very spot they died, hugging, crying, searching for pieces of their life to remember them by.

It was nothing short of heartbreaking to see tears pouring from Christy Swain-Turner’s eyes as her husband held her. Standing in the very spot where her mother and brother lost their lives.
David, Jr. had three children. An eight year old daughter, two adult children and a grand daughter.

Up the road, Kim Craver and Lori Anderson run the Fairview Cafe and are taking donations to help the family.Anderson said, “I spent a lot of time with the swains. They were wonderful people. They’ve been active in every community around here. Everybody that needed help, they were there always.”

David Swain, Sr. is the pastor at Union Church of Rapatee.

Kim Craver explained where he was when the house exploded. “The day of the explosion he was across the street at the church giving the sermon when it happened. So he heard this happen and walked out and saw the devastation,” explained Craver.

One church-goer said she thought the walls were going to cave in. And said they ran from the church, across the street where they saw nothing but smoke and rubble. Windows blown out of nearby houses, and furniture stuck in trees.

Craver added, “Dave and Wanda was just two of the most wonderful loving people you’ll ever meet in your life. I mean they were there for everybody.” “It’s just a tragedy what happened so we decided to do a fundraiser and try to help him out a little bit and that’s just how we do in a small community,” explained Craver.

Christy Swain-Turner and her family came from Virginia. They spent the afternoon and evening sifting through the rubble for keepsakes, family photos, anything they could find to remember her brother and mother.

They also lost their family pets. Two dogs including maggie, who was found alive but died tuesday… And two cats, although one is still missing. Shannon turner married into the Swain family in 1985, but he says he isn’t a son-in-law, he was their son. And they treated everybody like family – he wants to say thank you to the entire community for their support. “They had great faith. They are in a better place now thanks to God’s grace,” said Turner of his brother-in-law and mother-in-law.

Fairview Cafe is located at 365 Carter St, Fairview, IL 61432 and are taking cash, gift cards, and checks to ‘Dave Swain’ as donations. They are open seven days a week from 5:00 am -2:00 pm and will be collecting donations for at least the next week. Their mailing address is ‘Fairview Cafe P.O. Box 151 Fairview, Illinois 61432 if you would like to send a donation for the Swain family.

A memorial fund is set up for David Swain, Jr.’s daughter Kelsey at the Union Church. An education fund is set up for Kelsey through the Bank of Farmington. You can contact both of those organizations in Rapatee and Farmington.

Calling hours for David Jr. and Wanda will be held at Anderson-Sedgwick Funeral Home in Farmington on Friday June 14 from 5:00-8:00 pm. The funeral services will be held at the same location on Saturday at 10:00 am.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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