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'I just feel completely knocked all the way down': Mom displaced by Dallas apartment explosion dealing with trauma, homelessness

Chante Nakapaahu and her two children were displaced after the apartment explosion in Dallas Wednesday. She's having panic attacks after living through the trauma.

DALLAS, Texas — Chante Nakapaahu sat on the edge of a moving truck and cried Sunday evening.

“I just keep replaying what happened,” said Nakapaahu.

The mother of two hasn’t even been able to begin processing the trauma of what she experienced Wednesday.

The explosion that tore through the Highland Hills apartments in Southern Dallas damaged her home. She’s thankful her children were at school and not at home during the explosion. While her apartment building didn’t bear the brunt of the explosion, Nakapaahu said it ended up damaged and uninhabitable.

“I don’t have a home to go back to,” said Nakapaahu.

The stability she worked hard to give her kids is gone. Just weeks before the explosion, she was layed off from her job.

“I just feel completely knocked all the way down,” said Nakapaahu. “I’m doing the best that I can.”

As she tries to find a new place to live, she’s filled with uncertainty. A couple of nights ago, she and her kids walked through the rubble in the darkness to get to their apartment. 

She had less than an hour to recover some of her belongings. Using candlelight, she was able to retrieve some of her family albums.

“It was very chaotic,” said Nakapaahu.

They stored as much as possible into a moving truck and stored it away. She has no idea how long it’ll take before she’s able to relocate into a new home.

Sunday morning, council member Tennell Atkins gave an update on the investigation and tried to ease the concerns of residents who expressed confusion over communication.

Different organizations, including the Red Cross, are helping displaced residents with donations and immediate needs.

“We told them there is no need to have a concern. We are going to take care of all of the residents. We are extending the stay at those hotels,” said Atkins.

Nakapaahu said she had the option to temporarily stay in a hotel, but instead, chose to stay with a friend. She preferred to keep her kids away from a hotel to avoid making the situation more difficult for them. 

“Throughout the day, I’ll have moments where I feel overwhelmed and in shock,” said Nakapaahu.  “And I’ll just have to sit down because I’ll have a panic attack.”

As she moved boxes into a storage facility, she stopped, cried, and took a deep breath.

“It’s just one day at a time for me right now, or more like one hour at a time,” said Nakapaahu.

Chante has created a GoFundMe and is asking for donations to help her family relocate. 

Chante hopes the families impacted by the explosion won't be forgotten.

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