Fatal New Milford House Explosion Ruled an Accident

No criminal charges will be filed.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    No criminal charges will be filed in the New Milford gas explosion that killed a 47-year-old man and critically injured his son and the homeowner last year.

    State and local agencies have completed their investigation and ruled the incident an accident.

    Anthony Fratino III, 47, and his then-9-year-old son were at John Wilkinson’s home at 109 Sunny Valley Road in Milford, trying to fix a propane leak, on the evening of Aug. 29, 2012.

    At 6:42 p.m., there was a catastrophic explosion.  

    Frantino was killed. His son, Nicholas, and Wilkinson survived, but were both badly injured.

    Nicholas was transported to a hospital in Boston after the explosion.

    Wilkinson was treated at the burn unit in Bridgeport.

    His pregnant wife and two children were at a neighbor's house when the explosion happened because Wilkinson had told them to leave the house when he smelled gas, investigators said at the time.

    On Tuesday morning, state police released the findings of the New Milford fire marshal’s office, along with New Milford police, the state fire marshal’s office and the state police fire and explosion investigation unit.

    Investigators determined that an abandoned liquid propane gas dryer had been removed from the house around nine years earlier and an abandoned LP gas line had not been properly capped.

    Contractors inadvertently opened the gas line valve while installing a hot water heater and upgrading the piping system, which sent gas into the basement, investigators determined.

    As the home owner and contractor investigated, “an unidentified ignition source initiated the catastrophic explosion," according to investigators.

    Police said the investigation is now closed. 

    New Milford is a tight-knight community and residents gathered after the tragedy to honor the victims and hold fundraisers to help their families.

    In September, Wilkinson shared his story of that evening and his journey to recover.

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