2 Dead in Explosion, Fire at Condo

Two people are dead in an explosion and fire Saturday morning in Franklin, the Massachusetts Fire Marshal's Office confirms.

Crews responded to a blast that shook the Villages at Oak Hill condominium complex shortly before 7 a.m.

The massive fire on Tuscany Street eventually consumed the condo, killing Nancy and Richard Brown, both 66.

After firefighters knocked down the flames, neighbors surveyed the damage.

"It was just one big boom," said Bob Gilstein. "Looked out the back window and the unit was just gone. It must have been fairly instant."

"You see something like this and you're amazed," said Richard Iacovelli. "You don't know what to make of it."

The recently-constructed community is for people over 55. The Browns just moved in.

"We are saddened by the tragedy in our hearts, and prayers go out to the family," said Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher.

There has been no word on the cause of the fire, but investigators are looking at the underground propane tank that served the home.

"This fire could have been accelerated by propane. That doesn't mean, necessarily, that it initiated with propane," said Fire Marshal Stephen Coan.

Coan explains this investigation will take some time, at least several days.

"We want to ensure the safety of all the residents of this complex to fully understand what took place and to make sure that there is nothing further in regards to the safety of the propane or the distribution system," said Coan. "We have no reason to believe that there is, but out of an abundance of caution, we will take our time and move through each of those steps."

The fire marshal added he is working with the contractor here to check the propane systems throughout the community.

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