Whitmore Lake, Michigan – The victims of a tragic house explosion in Michigan have been identified as an Arkansas family visiting for the holidays. Hope and Don Bragg, along with their children Kenneth and Elizabeth, lost their lives in the explosion. The couple’s son Stephen was in stable condition, while Hope’s father, Richard Pruden, was in critical condition. Online fundraisers revealed that Pruden had sustained burns over 20% of his body and was in a coma, while Stephen faced severe injuries and a long road to recovery.
The Bragg family was known for their contributions to the local community, particularly through their involvement in the Arkansas Archaeological Society. They were passionate about nature, archaeology, music, arts, and STEM activities. Don Bragg was a professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, while Hope Bragg worked as a Forest Service scientist and a 4-H instructor at the University of Arkansas Extension Service. Kenneth had been set to graduate from Michigan Technological University, and Elizabeth was in her first year at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Friends and neighbors mourned the loss of this generous and caring family, remembering how they had always welcomed newcomers into their home. The explosion, which left only the basement standing, was described as a fuel air explosion, and foul play was not suspected. The devastation of this loss was felt not only in the Bragg family’s home state of Arkansas, but also in Michigan, where the explosion had occurred.
The Northfield Township Police Department stated that the explosion happened just before 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the blast was heard for miles. As the community and the victims’ families come to terms with the tragedy, the impact of this devastating event continues to ripple through multiple states.