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Two Found Dead After Explosion, Fire At Franklin Condo Complex

FRANKLIN (CBS) – Two people were found dead after a building was engulfed in flames following a likely gas explosion Saturday morning at a Franklin luxury condo complex.

Firefighters were called to the Villages at Oak Hill on Tuscany Drive shortly after 7 a.m. after an explosion was reported.

"Within two minutes of the sound, I looked out back and the building was completely engulfed," neighbor Bob Gilstein told WBZ-TV's Jim Smith. "It was quick. Really quick. It was pretty much gone."

Franklin Fire
Firefighters knock down flames at a Franklin condo complex. (Image Credit: Franklin Fire Department)

Firefighters got the fire under control by 8:15 a.m.

Initially fire officials said the building was unoccupied, but later Saturday morning officials found two people in the home.

Nancy and Richard Brown, both 66 years old, have been identified as the victims of the explosion. They had recently moved from Florida to the condo to be closer to their grandchildren.

Neighbor Gary Hodgson says he saw the couple walk together every morning and recalled them as "nice grandparents."

The two other adjoining units were still vacant, and the bodies of the two victims were found close together.

"It's tragic for our community," Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher told WBZ, adding that his thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families.

Some neighbors said they are uneasy about the propane, which is used to heat the units.

"We don't know if we're going to sleep here tonight," says Deb Hodgson. "I haven't decided, but probably not."

The Villages at Oak Hill website describes the complex as having luxury condos for an "active adult community."

Neighbors at the 55-plus community stood and watched stunned, as the building nearby burned. One neighbor, Jerry, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal he was awakened by the blast that killed Nancy and Richard Brown. Another neighbor, Mickey, says she started getting calls from her kids as soon as they heard the news.

The fire chief assured the community it is safe, and no evidence of foul play has been found, fire officials said.  The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The fire marshal says he expects the investigation to take days to complete.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal reports

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