House Explosion Leaves One Dead

Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 10:32am

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A New Milford, Connecticut man is dead after a Wednesday night house explosion.

The man's 9-year-old son suffered severe burns and the homeowner, a close friend, was critically injured in the blast.

Police say a propane leak is to blame.

According to authorities, the homeowner, John Wilkinson, 46, called his friend, Anthony Fratino, 47, to help fix a propane leak in the water heater in the basement.

While they were working the gas ignited.

Fratino did not survive.

His young son, Nicholas, who was with him, and Wilkinson were rushed to Danbury Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Nicholas will be transported to a hospital in Boston.

Wilkinson is being treated at the burn unit of Bridgeport Hospital.

His wife and two kids left the house right before the explosion and were at a neighbor's home.

Wilkinson had told his family to leave the house when he smelled propane, according to investigators.

Patricia Bailey who lives down the road felt the explosion.

"It shook my entire house, I had no idea what that was."

All that is left of the Wilkinson family home is the chimney.

Neighbors have set up a Facebook page, New Milford Explosion Community Relief, to help the families.

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