Arkansas Family Members Killed in Michigan House Explosion During Holiday Visit

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. – A tragic house explosion in Michigan claimed the lives of members of an Arkansas family who were visiting relatives for the holidays. Hope Bragg, 51, husband Don Bragg, 53, and their children, Kenneth Bragg, 22, and Elizabeth Bragg, 19, all from Monticello, Arkansas, were killed in the explosion. Hope Bragg’s 72-year-old father and the house’s owner, Richard Pruden, was in critical condition. The couple’s son Stephen Bragg, 16, was in stable condition.

The family’s friends and neighbors remembered them as a caring and generous family who often welcomed newcomers into their home. Hope and Don Bragg were passionate about nature, archeology, music, arts, STEM activities, and more, making a positive impact throughout their community.

Don Bragg was a professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and Hope Bragg was a Forest Service scientist and a 4-H instructor at the University of Arkansas Extension Service. The couple belonged to a local chapter of the Arkansas Archaeological Society and actively supported efforts to unearth history and promote science. Their daughter Beth was in her first year at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, while their son Kenny had been slated to graduate in the spring from Michigan Technological University.

The explosion, which happened just before 4 p.m. Saturday, was heard for miles. Only the basement remained — that and a 2-acre debris field. Police believe an undetermined fuel air explosion caused the damage, and foul play is not suspected at this time.

The blast devastated the community and left neighbors and friends mourning the loss. The couple’s local impact was substantial, and their absence will be deeply felt by those who knew them. The tragedy serves as a reminder of the preciousness of life and the fragility of our existence.

In conclusion, the fatal house explosion in Michigan claimed the lives of Hope Bragg, Don Bragg, and their children, leaving the community in deep mourning and disbelief. The investigation into the cause of the explosion continues as the survivors, including Richard Pruden, struggle to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of the event.