Smoaks house explosion victim’s family shares survivor’s story

A Colleton County man’s family is grateful their dad is still alive after his home exploded on Monday night.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:19 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 4:11 AM EST
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A Colleton County man’s family is grateful their dad is still alive after his home exploded on Monday night.

“A walking miracle from God.” That’s what a son and daughter say about their father, Israel Jenkins.

The 76-year-old was in his home when his propane tank exploded, causing the whole house to blow up. It was felt up to 15 miles away, according to fire officials.

MORE: Firefighters release images, new details from home explosion

“I kind of was just at home doing my normal stuff and got a call from a cousin saying something happened at my dad’s house and it appears that the house blew up,” Anthony Jenkins, Israel’s son said.

A very frightening call to get led both Anthony and Tarnishia Jenkins to the home they grew up in most of their lives, now left to pieces.

However, one piece still remains — their father.

“It’s a blessing to still have him here,” daughter Tarnishia Jenkins said. “The explosion was quite an experience, but I must say that God brought him out.”

They say Jenkins is well-known in his community. A barber for more than 30 years, lover of sports, singer in multiple choir groups and a giver to everyone around him.

“He always tells us it’s better to give than to receive,” Anthony said. “That’s one of his main mantras, in a sense. So, that’s something that’s been instilled in both of us I would say too.”

With this being Tarnishia’s home all her life, she says they’ve lost many memories, like pictures, awards and more. But the most important thing is that their dad is still here.

“He has shed tears about it, but we let him know, ‘Dad, you’re still here and we’re going to make it through this,’” Tarnishia said. “And that’s our focus. How God brought him through this, so God has brought him too far to leave him now.”

They say Jenkins has been in stable condition with spirits getting better day after day. MUSC expects him to have a speedy recovery, but there’s no timeline of when he will be out of the hospital. Anthony and Tarnishia say they are incredibly thankful for all the support from the community.