Blast: Witnesses Take the Stand with Horrifying Stories - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Blast: Witnesses Take the Stand with Horrifying Stories

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A business owner and some neighbors whose homes were damaged in the massive gas explosion on the Cleveland's Westside in January took the stand Friday in William Calderwood's trial.

Calderwood is seen by the jury at times dabbing tears, sitting in a wheelchair. He is accused of causing the devastation on West 83rd in Cleveland.

Four months after the blast the debris from it is largely gone on West 83rd, but scars from it remain. Certainly, physically on the landscape but also just as certainly psychologically in the minds and memories of those who live here and lived through it.

"Everything was dark, it was hard to see anything. I saw the street, I saw fire, there was no walls. It was devastating. I was covered in blood," said Ericka Ruiz.

Ericka's story is heartbreaking. She lost all her worldly possessions and more, including much of her hearing.

Making things worse is that Ericka and her 3 daughters had smelled gas for days before the explosion. The girls even missed school. They called the gas company, but the crew couldn't make the repair.

This was day 7 of the trial.  More than 50 witnesses have taken the stand.

Calderwood is charged with 72 counts of arson. 

Prosecutors say he tampered with a gas line in a home.

72 homes were damaged in the area.

Four people were injured.

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