SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – What was to be the start of a promising future in their new home for South African native Larissa Apperson, her daughter Alyssa, and year-old puppy named Teddy Bear turned out to be what some would consider a nightmare.

Just before 5 a.m. last Friday, Apperson’s home exploded on Demeries Lake Lane. The cause is still unknown.

“We’ve lived so humble for so long and my previous home was only 980 square feet, so it was a two-bedroom 1 bath and it was just getting too small for me and my little girl,” said Apperson. “Her daddy passed away on Aug. 6 of last year, and so I just wanted to get away from everything that was negative and wanted to start a fresh start with her.” 

After looking at houses in Florida and Georgia, Apperson decided to purchase her dream home in Richmond Hill where her mother lives. She also wanted her previously private-schooled daughter to attend a school in the district.

“My thought was, why not invest my money more so into a bigger home for her to have friends over and be able to have a playroom and have more places to play and have space and still be able to go to a very good school,” Apperson explained.

After considering several homes, one stood out from the rest — the property located on the 100 block of Demeries Lake Lane.

“This home on Demeries Lake was my dream home,” Apperson said. “But it was a lot of money and I had to make a decision on if I was going to purchase this home, I was going to think really hard about it because it’s going to take every penny that I had.” But I knew that I could at least be able to make it work once I get a job here, once I get my daughter in school. I wanted to buy my forever home.”

She continued, “And so when I did, I purchased the house, I didn’t have a loan or anything, I paid cash for the house, and then I was going to switch insurance the very next day.”

Apperson and her daughter then set off on their journey from California to their dream home in Richmond Hill, having no idea that on Jan. 13, less than 12 hours after walking through the door, an explosion would destroy more than half of the house.

“Our flight was at 4 a.m. the next day,” said Apperson. “I was packing until 2 a.m., I got two hours of sleep, got on the plane, got off the plane and I mean, this is just strange.  We landed here at 6:15 p.m. My mom picked us up and by the time we got to my house it was 7:30 p.m.”

She continued, “Just as I got settled in, I want to say maybe no longer, no shorter between 20 and 30 minutes before the explosion happened. And the moment that happened, I was sleeping on the floor and the windows just burst over my head, all over me.

“I never should have slept near a window. My first instinct was, I got shot, because of the sharpness of the glass that hit me.”

No one was injured during the explosion, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“I am absolutely devastated by what happened, I am still in disbelief. I asked God every day just how is this possible?” Apperson said. “That house was everything I ever wanted. Everything.”

In spite of all that has happened, Apperson is still looking forward to living in her dream home on Demeries Lake Lane. She’s moving towards making that happen.

“I have a choice and I was praying over this last night to God and I said, ‘God, should I let this home go or should I try to repair it?’ And the answer I got was, ‘Repair it and move forward,'” she said. “‘Don’t live in fear, live your life to the fullest and I will take care of the rest. I will protect you.’ And I really believe in my heart that everything will get resolved in the end.”

Apperson said a structural engineer who went into the home said they can move back in as long as the county approves it. They are currently waiting for the county’s decision. 

“Honestly, if I can only have candles for light, I want to be able to move in,” she said.

“I think if I face it sooner than later, it’s going to be better for me, that’s just the type of person that I am,” Apperson continued.

Although it has been one week since the explosion, she says plenty of people have stepped in to help during this difficult time.

“This community, I love the people.  I think most of all, where I really felt safe was with all the neighbors that came together for this whole disaster on my street.  That’s another reason why I truly feel like my heart belongs in that place.  I feel like God surrounded me with good people.  Everyone there has gone out of their way, asking if we need food, if we need shelter, anything, everything.”

Apperson said she would like to give a special thanks to Greenleaf, Board Up, Serve-Pro, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, Bryan County Fire and Emergency Services, neighbors and members of Home Owners Association on Demeries Lake Lane, WSAV News 3, and her friends and neighbors in Sacramento, California.

Those wishing to donate to a Go Fund Me that was set up by Apperson’s friend can do so by clicking here.