One man is dead after a house explosion in New Milford on Wednesday night, his 9-year-old son suffered severe burns and a homeowner was critically injured.
Propane caused the explosion inside a home on Sunny Valley Road just before 7 p.m., police said.
According to authorities, the homeowner, John Wilkinson, 46, called his friend, Jr., 47, to help fix a propane leak in the water heater in the basement.
While they were working, the explosion happened.
Fratino did not survive. His young son, Nicholas, who was with him, was critically injured.
"I came around the house, ran right through here, me and my wife. You tried to get the roof of the boy... we couldn't get it off, but the screaming..." Al Machado, a neighbor, said. "You'll never forget that."
Wilkinson, a father of two whose wife is pregnant, was also critically injured.
Both survivors were rushed to Danbury Hospital and then moved.
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 house. Wilkinson had told his family to leave the house when he smelled propane, according to investigators.
It’s unclear where they’re staying now.
Fratino ran a New Milford-based plumbing and heating business
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.
They said checks can be made payable to the "Fratino Family Support Fund" and the "Wilkinson Family Support Fund." The funds are set up at the Community Credit Union of New Milford, 145 Danbury Road, New Milford 06776.
A bake sale is planned in Bethel for Sept. 8.