Plant Explosion Victims Remembered

Wakes held in Old Saybrook, Colchester, and Thomaston


As the investigation into what caused Sunday’s explosion at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middletown continues, wakes were held across Connecticut for three of the five victims.

In Old Saybrook people waited in a long line to pay their respects to the memory of Raymond Dobratz. The 58-year-old husband and father was an active member of his community. He coached little league, served on the police commission, and was involved in many other activities.

“We built cooling towers together on the same job site where he lost his life,” said friend Mike Sposito. “I looked forward to every day being able to see Ray.”

In Colchester, friends and family remembered 42-year-old Ronald Crabb. The husband and father of 2 was a very involved member of his community. He was awarded the Secretary of State’s Public Service Award for his long-standing dedication.

A wake was also held in Thomaston for 48 year old Peter Chepulis. The pipe fitter whose friends say loved to go to work leaves behind a wife and stepson.

“It seems so unfair that they were all take so soon,” said Lisa Ossa, a friend of Dobratz. “I’m sure a lot of families right now are grieving. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.”

Experts are going back to the site to burn off propane gas left behind in damaged tanks. NBC Connecticut has been told that there may be some black smoke but there are no safety concerns. A search warrant has also been extended until next Tuesday as police continue inspecting the site.

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