126 Prince Street prior to demolition/ Credit: Needham Observer

“All my family is safe, which is very good,” said Harihara Harikumar as he watched the house he has lived in for the past two years being torn down.

“We’ve lost everything. All my furniture, clothing, expensive furniture that we carried from around the world that has some emotional value as well,” he said. “All that is gone.”

Harikumar was able to retrieve just a few documents following the explosion in the house he rented with his family of four, none of whom were home at the time. His wife and daughter are on overseas trips, and he and his son were each away visiting friends. His neighbors and his landlord, Tom Henry, called him with the news.   

He said Eversource has arranged a hotel for him for five days. “I am supposed to talk with them on claims or whatever. I was a tenant. I don’t have renter’s insurance. But it was a mistake of Eversource so I hope they claim responsibility and compensate me,” he said.

Remains of demolished home/ Credit: Needham Observer

The good thing, Harikumar said, is the family is closing on a house in Walpole. “So we have a house which we will have by February.” And he is not looking for support. “Money is not the thing which we really need,” he said. “But we need justice for sure.”

Harikumar was calm as he talked about his loss. “When things like this happen, normally everyone is calm,” he said. “When small things happen people get perturbed. But with major things, calm. … The family is safe, that is what is most relieving. And this we’ll figure out.”

His landlord, Henry, voiced similar sentiments.

“It’s bricks and mortar,” he said of the loss of his property. “It’s a blessing no one was hurt.”

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