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Body found after fire at Holden residence; Neighbors report hearing explosions.

Byline: Scott J. Croteau and Kim Ring

HOLDEN -- A three-alarm fire that followed two explosions Sunday afternoon left one person dead inside a home at 18 Farragut Way, officials said.

There was no information about the identity of the victim last night and State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said that circumstances involved would require any further information to come from Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.'s office.

"The fire is under investigation,'' he said. "The fire caused extensive damage to the home and the Holden firefighters, in the process of overhauling, did discover a victim inside.''

A spokesman for the district attorney said he did not expect to release any further information late Sunday night.

A neighbor called 911 around noon to report hearing explosions and seeing fire coming from the home at the end of a cul de sac.

Another man, Paul Moisel, said he heard a "thud'' as he was driving not far from the scene and initially thought something was wrong with his vehicle. When he saw the fire he rushed to help.

"The flames were 20, 25 feet above the house,'' he said, adding that he and another man banged on the doors at the rear of the house and tried to see if anyone was at home but could see nothing except black smoke inside.

"I wish I had gotten there sooner,'' he said Sunday night when he returned to the scene.

Fire Marshal Coan said Sunday night that investigators had several hours of work to do to determine the cause of the fire. Lights were brought in and investigators were seen going in and out of the home Sunday night.

The fire marshal said the road was closed off so investigators could work and there was no danger once the fire was out.

He said state police from his office and the district attorney's office, along with personnel from Holden, are investigating. He said there is no natural gas line to the home and the front doors -- which some neighbors thought had been blown off in the explosion -- had actually been removed by firefighters trying to gain access to the house.

Smoke was billowing from the home about an hour after the initial call, though the fire was under control. Fire officials said there was fire damage in the basement, first floor and attic. No firefighters were injured.

Firefighters from Sterling, Paxton and Rutland were called to help at the scene. Crews from Oakham and West Boylston responded to cover the Holden fire stations. The towns Community Emergency Response Team and the Worcester Box 4 Canteen provided support services.

Records show the house is owned by Raj Pathi and Lakshmi Pathi and was last sold for $405,000 in 2006.

Neighbors said they believe the couple has an adult son. They said the parents are quiet and they've seen them coming and going but don't know them personally.

Contact Scott J. Croteau at scott.croteau@telegram.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottCroteauTG

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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Croteau, Scott J.; Ring, Kim
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 27, 2014
Words:501
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