Update: The Lehigh County Coroner’s office has identified the person found dead following a fire and series of explosions at a southern county home.
Brian Ehret, 50, lived at the home in the Zionsville section of Lower Milford Township, where on Tuesday afternoon a shipping container filled with stored fireworks exploded, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
Ehret was pronounced dead at 4:47 p.m. in the backyard of the home at 8439 Orchard Road. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine his cause and manner of death.
The coroner, ATF and state police are investigating Ehret’s death, as well as the cause of the fire and explosion.
The blast was first reported at about 2:55 p.m., and video from the scene showed numerous fireworks continuing to explode close to the ground.
State police initially reported one person was dead and another injured; the injured person has not been identified.
One person died in a fire and series of explosions Tuesday afternoon that rocked a rural neighborhood in southern Lehigh County, according to the county coroner’s office.
Local, state and federal authorities were investigating.
The incident was reported as an explosion with injuries at 8439 Orchard Road in Zionsville, Lower Milford Township, according to Pennsylvania State Police Troop M.
No additional information on the fatality was expected to be released Tuesday night, county First Deputy Coroner/Operations Manager Daniel Buglio said in a news release.
Firetrucks could be seen pumping water onto a smoldering, charred property, in photos shot with an unmanned aerial vehicle piloted by lehighvalleylive.com multimedia specialist Saed Hindash. There appeared to be severe damage to a trailer from a tractor-trailer, and possibly damage to additional structures, as well.
Emergency dispatches labeled the incident a multi-alarm structure fire. Crews were staging at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouse, 8025 Spinnerstown Road in Zionsville, the dispatches indicated.
A nearby resident, Linda Palilonis, told lehighvalleylive.com the first blast carried to her home in Bucks County just before 3 p.m. It sounded like thunder rolling, but the skies were clear blue. When she looked for the source, she could see smoke risking over the horizon.
Soon after, she could hear what sounded “like a bunch of fireworks exploding,” she said.
The Upper Bucks Free Press posted to Facebook contributed video of what appeared to be numerous fireworks exploding close to the ground at the scene.
Agencies assisting state police at Fogelsville and the coroner’s office in the investigation as of Tuesday night included the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Pennsylvania State Police Hazardous Device and Explosives; and the fire marshal and forensic service and criminal investigation units of Bethlehem-based Troop M, according to state police spokesman Trooper Nathan Branosky.
Additional information was expected to be released Wednesday, Branosky said.
Kurt Bresswein may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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