🔥 Neighbors say an explosion blew windows out of the Lakewood building

🔥 Lakewood police said one person was injured

🔥 Meanwhile, one man died in a house explosion in Stafford

UPDATE: This report has been updated with additional details about the fire including the name of the victim

LAKEWOOD — A fire in an apartment building Tuesday afternoon was triggered by an explosion.

It was the second fatal fire in Ocean County in the past two days.

Police Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said the fire was first reported around 2:15 p.m. in a one-level building on Samson Avenue. The only resident of the unit, Ronald Prichard, 67, died in the fire. The cause of the explosion was determined to be the release of natural gas to an open flame in a bedroom, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.

A neighbor told The Lakewood Scoop,which was first to report the fire, that a window was blown out by an explosion just before the fire.

The injured victim with serious burns was found by police and firefighters during a door-to-door search, neighbors told the Scoop. Staffordsmith said the man later died from his injuries.

Red Cross New Jersey said it assisted four people from three families.

Fire in a building on Samson Avenue in Lakewood 11/1/23
Fire in a building on Samson Avenue in Lakewood 11/1/23 (The Lakewood Scoop)

Propane contributed to a Stafford house explosion

An explosion early Tuesday morning at a house on Neptune Drive in the Ocean Acres section of Stafford killed Kevin Thomas, 45.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said Thomas was found outside the house with serious injuries. He died at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Billhimer said the explosion, which left a gaping hole in the roof, was caused by the release of propane from a tank to an open flame in a bedroom.

House on Neptune Drive in Stafford after an explosion 10/31/23
House on Neptune Drive in Stafford after an explosion 10/31/23 (@LaurieDue12 via X)

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