A man died and three emergency responders were injured in a reported explosion at a house in Maynard, Massachusetts, Thursday evening.
Maynard firefighters arrived around 4:10 p.m. after the town's Communications Center received a call about a gas-like smell coming from the Park Street home. The caller was uncertain if it was gas or carbon monoxide.
Fire Chief Anthony Stowers said crews found smoke coming from the front and side windows of the house. After entering the home, firefighters found the victim dead in the basement.
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Two Maynard police officers and a firefighter were also injured in the blaze, the fire chief said. They were taken by ambulance to an area hospital with injuries that are believed to be non-life threatening. No other information was provided, but the state fire marshal said they are expected to recover.
Dozens of Eversource workers were on scene Thursday night and Friday morning, digging a hole in front of the home. Fire officials said Friday evening the utility was inspecting supply lines throughout the town as a precaution. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a resident and the injuries suffered by the emergency responders in the Park Street fire yesterday," Eversource said in a statement. "We will remain in the area to continue monitoring and will work with state and local agencies as we investigate what happened."
Fire officials did not say if anyone else was home at the time flames broke out, but neighbors tell NBC10 Boston that a lovely couple has lived there for over 40 years.
“I’m just so heartbroken for them. This is their life, this is their home, this is them and in a second it’s gone," said Libbie Pilsch, who lives across the street. "They are amazing!"
“Super friendly," her husband Mark added. "We were very close with them.”
Pilsch made a second call to 911, and crews rushed to the scene, but it was too late.
“I was on the phone and I heard a big explosion and I said to my friend I have to go,” Pilsch recalled. "I ran out in my stocking feet with my phone and called 911 right away.”
Blown-out windows were thrust across the street and flames engulfed the home.
“Smoke started coming out. Then flames," Pilsch said. "The flames were so intense that I could feel the heat in my house. I had to shut all the windows and everything.”
Aerial footage showed what appeared to be a massive response to the home, with at least six parked ladder trucks and more than a dozen firefighters out front.
The Maynard Fire Department said it received mutual aid from multiple surrounding towns, including Concord, Acton, Stow, Hudson, Lincoln, Wayland, Boxborough and Sudbury.
The fire chief acknowledged the person's death was likely to affect nearby neighbors.
“This is a tight knit community," Stowers said. "I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of upset people. Rightfully so.”
The victim's name has not been released, and there was no immediate word on what caused the fatal blaze. It is under investigation by the Maynard Fire Department and the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal's office and the Middlesex District Attorney.