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Owner of home at center of explosion denies wrongdoing

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The owner of the home at the center of a south side explosion that killed two said she’s devastated, but she’s not to blame.

Monserrate Shirley, 47, also known as Moncy, said she’s been on medication since the blast to help her cope with what happened. She said she wanted to speak out, because she feels like everyone is pointing the finger at her and her home.

"I don't wish this to no one. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up," she said through her tears. "I cannot sleep. I don't eat. Everybody's been asking me questions."

Shirley admits, weeks before the blast, her 12-year-old daughter complained about an overwhelming smell of gas in the laundry room and outside their house.

"She said ‘Every time I come from school and we open the garage door I smelled gas in there.’”

Then, just a week before the explosion, Shirley said the house became too cold to stay in so the family spent the night at a hotel and she called a cooling and heating company to get a quote. Instead of hiring a company to come out and find the problem, she said her boyfriend replaced the thermostat and it seemed like everything was working fine.

On Friday night, the couple packed up and drove to Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg to celebrate their anniversary. Her daughter stayed with a friend and their cat was at the groomer.

Shirley said she found out what happened when a hysterical neighbor called her Saturday night.

"She was screaming 'I'm glad you're alive, I'm glad you're alive! It was an explosion in the neighborhood and we were looking for your body!'"

Shirley and her boyfriend drove back that night and tried to go see the house, but they were told to go to Mary Bryan Elementary School where other neighbors were being sheltered.

She has been speaking with investigators and IMPD’s financial crimes investigators are currently looking into Shirley’s financial history.

According to documents obtained by Fox59, Shirley and her ex-husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2007. The couple owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. The couple eventually divorced and Shirley took ownership of the house.

During the divorce, Shirley put the house up for sale, but then took it off the market and decided to stay.

This summer, the trustee dismissed the bankruptcy case. Shirley’s attorney, Randall Cable, told Fox59, it probably was due to the couple not being able to make their payments. He said Shirley is now financially maintaining the house.

Shirley told Fox59, she doesn’t have money problems.

“I don’t have no financial issues,” she said.

Fox 59asked her what she thinks happened on Saturday. Shirley said “I don’t know.”

She said she’s been taking medication to help calm her emotions, but she’s having a difficult time coping with the disaster.

"I'm devastated that I lost it all. My neighbor lost a life, you know, that my whole neighborhood is destroyed,” she said. “They need to wait t'ill all the investigation is done. I don't want nobody to point the finger to no one."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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