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Man Killed in Melville House Explosion Fire

By Heather Crosley


An explosion in a burning storage shed ignited the neighboring house and killed its elderly homeowner in a deadly fire just one day after Christmas.


On Tuesday, December 26, 2023 the Melville Fire Department responded to multiple calls to a raging house fire on Wilmington Drive. The explosion and raging fire required over 100 fire fighters to extinguish, and the house was totally destroyed.


Firefighters used four engines, three ambulances, one ladder truck and one heavy rescue vehicle, and the Melville Fire Department was able to subdue the fire with help from neighboring fire departments.


One man in the Wilmington Drive home was confirmed deceased as a result of the blaze. Neighbors described him as elderly and living alone with several dogs.


Although the identity of this deceased elderly man was not released, it is said that he was the only occupant on the premises at the time of the fire. While the cause of the elderly man's death is not yet confirmed, police do not suspect any foul play in connection with his death.


According to Melville Fire Department First Assistant Chief Donald Barclay, the first responders found a shed behind the house burning, which then exploded in a massive blast and fireball, immediately setting the house afire.


Reportedly, there were propane and oil tanks behind the house, which caused explosions and the further spread of the fire to the house. The Melville Fire Department has deemed the fire not to be criminal in nature.


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