Gas Explosion Destroys Connecticut Home, Killing Anthony Fratino


A propane leak in a New Milford, Conn., home turned deadly Wednesday night when it caused a fiery explosion that killed one person, injured two others and completely destroyed the house, authorities say.

Homeowner John Wilkinson called his friend, Anthony Fratino, to help him fix the propane leak in his water heater. According to NBC News, the explosion happened while the men were working on the problem. Officials said that it killed Fratino instantly; Wilkinson and Fratino's 9-year-old son, Nicholas, were rushed to the hospital with severe burns and other injuries.

Wilkinson had previously told his wife and their two kids to leave the home when he smelled the propane. They were at a neighbor's house when the explosion occurred.

"It's just an incredible site. There's nothing left of the house," Lt. Lawrence Ash, a New Milford Police Department spokesperson, told The News-Times in Danbury. "I've never seen anything like this."

"The entire house just -- boom! -- shook," neighbor Eric Bailey told The Associated Press.

Aside from rubble covering a wide area, all that's left of the two-story farmhouse is the chimney.

Fratino was known by his friends and neighbors as a helpful, generous man and a great father.

"This was a father and two boys who were completely best friends,'' Fratino's friend, Bill Clark, told "At least 100 times, I said he was 'Father of the Year.' "

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