One year later: Family and friends remember those who were killed in the South River Market explosion in Buena Vista

Local News

BUENA VISTA, Va. (WFXR) — It’s been one year since a tragic gas explosion at the South River Market that took the lives of four Buena Vista residents.

Family, friends, and former customers gathered next to the rubble to remember them.

A balloon release was held, each balloon bearing the name of those who died from the explosion. Roger Roberts, Kevin Roberts, and Samantha Lewis, who owned and worked at the store, and Paul Ruley, a customer, were all killed in the explosion on the morning of May 10, 2019.

As of May 10, 2020, the site remains almost untouched because of an ongoing investigation, but family members say the flowers, pictures, and mementos literally surrounding the area mean so much.

“It’s very supporting. It’s heartbreaking to see it, but it’s very supporting that everybody comes out here, still to this day, bringing things out here and putting it on the fence,” said Gavin Higgins, a family member of Roberts and Lewis. “It feels good to have everybody come out and do the balloon release and spend time to memorialize them.”

South River Market was considered a staple in the community.

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