Mother of gas line explosion victim says son is ‘strong,' 'courageous'

SALEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — In light of a gas explosion that shook Salem Township and left one man severely burned late last month, a protest was held Monday to put an end to pipeline build-out.

“Wherever I have to go. I don't care if I have to travel to Philadelphia, this has to be done,” Helen Baker, who is the mother of the man burned in the April 29 blast, told Channel 11 News.

Carrying signs of support, Helen Baker and other family members of burn victim James Baker joined Pennsylvanians Against Fracking to protest pipeline work in communities such as Salem Township.

“This is something that James would want. He wants everyone to know that these pipelines are dangerous and none of us want it to happen to anyone, what happened to him, and what he's going through right now,” Helen Baker said. %



James Baker was inside a home that was about 500 feet away from the blast. Despite having ankle surgery days earlier, he escaped and ran down Route 819 as the house was destroyed. He suffered burns across his body, and underwent a third surgery Friday.

“He's doing as best as he can, considering what happened to him Friday morning. He's very strong, he's very courageous and, again, I stress the prayers. We thank you for the prayers and the donations, everything. Please keep them coming,” Helen Baker said.

Monday’s protest called on Gov. Tom Wolf to halt the construction of pipelines, including one reported on by Target 11 that is only a couple of miles from the line that exploded and will carry natural gas liquids from Marcellus Shale through Pennsylvania.

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