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New Milford (AP) — A New Milford man trying to help a homeowner repair a propane leak was killed when the house exploded, leaving only a chimney.
Police say Anthony Fratino Jr. of New Milford was killed and his 9-year-old son, Nicholas, was injured in the explosion on Wednesday evening.
John Wilkinson, who lives in the house with his wife, also was injured. He was apparently trying to fix a propane leak, with help from Fratino, who runs a New Milford-based plumbing and heating business, according to the News Times.
Police and the State Fire Marshal still were investigating Thursday.
The explosion leveled the two-story, Cape-style farmhouse at about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. Pieces of rubble were scattered over a wide area.
The 46-year-old Wilkinson and the younger Fratino were hospitalized with severe lacerations and burns, police spokesman Lt. Larry Ash said.
Neighbors told the paper the homeowner's wife and their two children were not at home at the time, and rescuers said no one else was at the home when it blew up. The residence was on Sunny Valley Road, across from a nature preserve.
Ash said onlookers were being kept away because asbestos particles might have blown into the air.
Eric Bailey, who lives nearby, said he and his family were sitting down to dinner when they felt the explosion. He said he thought a plane or a car had run into their house.
"The entire house just — boom! — shook," Bailey said.
Ash told the Republican American that there was no fire when first responders arrived. They instead found rubble.
Police did not suspect there were any other victims in the rubble, but called in dogs to search, just in case.
"We believe everyone has been accounted for," Ash told the newspaper.