LEBANON, Ill. (KMOV.com) - A single father of two said he is grateful that he and his family were not home when their apartment in Lebanon, Illinois was damaged in a natural gas explosion Friday night.

READ: Firefighters worry about collapse after gas explosion damages apartment building in Lebanon, Illinois

The explosion happened at the apartment building on W. St. Louis street just after 7:30 p.m. Jay Greeson was out to dinner with his fiancée and their blended family when the explosion occurred. On the way home, he learned that he missed the explosion by about 10 minutes.

A friend is now accepting donations to replace everything in the apartment.

“Just thankful. Its not even about the money. All of the materialistic things could be replaced,” Greeson said.

Greeson’s neighbor Colton Meyers was home during the explosion. He believes a firewall saved him.

“You almost feel like it absorbed it, but it shook the whole building. It was a giant explosion that jolted you back. Seeing it, its surreal. You really can’t put it into words,” Meyers said.

Meyers rushed out and found debris on his car and watched so much burn.

“It’s just a weird experience, looking at it and being like everything you have in the room is there with the fire starting, and there’s nothing you can do,” said Meyers.

Greeson said he wants people to look at life as a gift.

“A lot of people take things for granted, sometimes, you know, they have tunnel vision. They don’t think or look ahead to tomorrow and not today. When stuff like this happens, it reminds you,” said Greeson.

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