Father, Son Seriously Burned in Gas-Fueled House Explosion

A father and son from Dracut, Massachusetts, suffered third-degree burns when a home they were repairing in Waldoboro, Maine exploded Thursday night.

Fire investigators said a house at 1038 Dutch Neck Rd. exploded and ignited around 8:30 p.m.

Sgt. Joel Davis from the Maine State Fire Marshal’s office said the burn victims, Robert Keefe, 59, and his son, Ryan Keefe, 29, are lucky to have survived.

"We are still amazed at that," said Davis.

Investigators believe a propane leak caused dangerous levels of gas to build up inside the home. The two men turned on a dryer in the basement, which caused the explosion that knocked the home off of its foundation. They escaped through a basement window.

"We’re pretty confident that the house was full of that gas, and when people arrived, through normal activity like turning on a light switch, something sparked," said Davis.

Only a smoldering foundation and scattered debris remain.

"It was huge, the whole house shook," said neighbor Barbara Brewer.

She said she heard two explosions, then saw the massive flames.

"It was a big conflagration, but it seemed mostly at ground level. I think the house blew apart," Brewer recalled.

The home belongs to Robin Pancygrau, of Chelmsforld, Massachusetts. She was not at the home at the time. It was her boyfriend and his son attempting to make repairs.

Davis said the victims were taken to Maine Medical Center where they are recovering.

Davis said this serves as a reminder to be extra cautious when opening a home that has been sitting empty. If there is a smell of rotten eggs or garbage, it may actually be a dangerous gas. The fire department should be called immediately.

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