In a flash several houses are destroyed and residents' lives would be forever changed.

Throughout the chaos on Woodman Avenue stories quickly began to emerge of neighbours helping neighbours and a community coming together.

Now just hours since the massive explosion in Old East Village that community spirit continues to spread with several local businesses stepping up to help those affected.

While several homes are lost, an entire block has been evacuated affecting hundreds of homes and people.

The Red Cross sent six volunteers to the scene to help the City of London with finding accommodations for those displaced. The Red Cross is currently helping 26 people with accommodations.

For those looking to lend a helping hand here are some of the businesses that are stepping up in support of the victims:

The Libro Credit Union - working with the Old East Village Community Association to support those affected by accepting donations at all branches. Libro has begun the fundraising effort by donating $10,000

Covent Garden Market - the Farmers' Market with be setting up a donation table from 4-7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. A list of items needed can be found on their Facebook page

Anderson Ales - collecting food, toiletries, shoes, clothing, gift cards and pet food at the brewery for anyone affected by this event

Donaldson Heating and Air Conditioning – offering free service to those who had their gas shut off including inspections and repairs

Community Legal Services at Western Law – offering assistance to anyone with landlord and tenant issues as a result of the explosion

Friends of Woodman - A public Facebook group set up to coordinate donations - the group already has 1,300 members

Other businesses accepting donations include: Fire Roasted Coffee Co, Life Spin, and London Brewing Co-op.

There are also several GoFundMe campaigns set up for victims of the explosion here: Chris and Laura -OEV Explosion victims and Woodman Fire - Family Fund

As additional offers of help pour in the Old East Village Community Facebook page is being updated.

The City of London has a public information telephone line and anyone in need can call 519-661-CITY(2489) ext 4548. Any inquiries about missing pets can be made directly to Animal Control at 519-685-1330.

Politicians share thoughts

London 's NDP MPPs, Terence Kernaghan, Teresa Armstrong and Peggy Sattler released a statement Thursday wishing everyone a speedy recovery.

It reads in part, “Our thoughts today are with the residents and their loved ones impacted by last night's terrible fire, and to those recovering in hospital. Londoners owe immense gratitude to our firefighters, police and first responders, whose professionalism and courage kept the fire from escalating further, and prevented further damage.

"It was heartening to see residents of Old East Village acting quickly to help neighbours and friends, even placing themselves in danger to do so. Residents like Mike Peckham, a true hero who helped to evacuate his elderly neighbours. Their dedication highlights the strong sense of community that Old East Village is famous for."