Fatal Propane Tank Fire Claims Life of New Jersey Homeowner
Stafford Township, NJ – In a tragic incident, a structure fire caused by an explosion resulting from a propane tank release has claimed the life of a homeowner. The incident occurred in the early morning hours of October 31, 2023, at a residence on Neptune Drive in Stafford Township. The victim, identified as Kevin Thomas, 45, was found on the front lawn of the house with severe burns to his upper torso. Despite being airlifted to Temple Burn Center in Philadelphia, Mr. Thomas tragically succumbed to his injuries.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Stafford Township Police Department, Stafford Township Detective Bureau, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and the Berkeley Township Hazmat Unit collaborated in the investigation to determine the cause of the explosion. Their findings revealed that the origin of the explosion was the southwest corner bedroom of the residence. The release of propane from a tank to an open flame was identified as the cause of the explosion.
Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Police Chief Thomas Dellane expressed their gratitude to all the agencies involved in the investigation for their collective assistance. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Stafford Township Police Department, Stafford Township Detective Bureau, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and the Berkeley Township Hazmat Unit played vital roles in uncovering the details surrounding this tragic incident.
The photograph shared on the Stafford Township Police Facebook page showcases the extent of the devastation caused by the fire. The image captures the charred remains of the residence, highlighting the severity of the incident. This visual depiction serves as a reminder of the destructive power of fires and the importance of fire safety measures.
The loss of a life in this incident serves as a tragic reminder of the potential dangers associated with propane gas and the importance of proper handling and safety protocols. As investigations continue, authorities aim to raise awareness about the safe use and storage of propane tanks to prevent similar incidents in the future.