Aug 29, 2013
03:49 AM
The Connecticut Story

New Milford House Explosion Last Summer Ruled Accident; Gas Leak the Cause

New Milford House Explosion Last Summer Ruled Accident; Gas Leak the Cause

Alice Tessier/Litchfield County Times

The Wilkinson residence at 109 Sunny Valley Road in New Milford the morning after the Aug. 29, 2012, explosion.

An investigation of the 2012 propane gas explosion that destroyed a residence in a rural part of New Milford, resulting in one death and serious injuries to two others, determined that the incident was an accident, and no criminal charges will be filed, according to State Police.

The explosion, which had occurred Aug. 29 at approximately 6:42 p.m. at the home of John and Alice Wilkinson at 109 Sunny Valley Road, resulted in the death of Anthony J. Fratino III, 48, a licensed union plumber. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Fratino’s son Nicholas, 8, were seriously injured.

Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Fratino reportedly were looking into why there was an odor of gas in the house at the time.

After smelling gas, Mr. Wilkinson had sent his two young sons to a neighbor’s house. His wife, who was pregnant, was also not home at the time.

After the explosion, only the chimney of the Cape-style home the Wilkinsons shared with their two sons, Jake and Everett, had been left standing, but that was removed as investigators combed the scene.

The local fire marshal’s office and police department as well as the state fire marshal’s office and State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit investigated the incident.

Their investigation concluded that the explosion was due to a liquid propane gas leak in the basement of the house.

“The cause of the leak was identified as an open, abandoned LP-Gas line that was not properly capped after a LP-Gas dryer was removed from the home approximately nine years prior to the incident,” according to the State Police news release. “The LP-Gas line valve was inadvertently opened by contractors during the installation of a LP-Gas hot water heater and upgrading of the LP-Gas piping system, allowing LP-Gas to flow freely into the basement area. Upon investigation of the odor of LP-Gas by the homeowner and the contractor, an unidentified ignition source initiated the catastrophic explosion.”

See the full story at The Litchfield County Times online.


New Milford House Explosion Last Summer Ruled Accident; Gas Leak the Cause

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