House explosion that killed NH worker caused by propane, investigators say

An explosion that killed a 46-year-old painter working on an unfinished home in New Boston, N.H., Tuesday morning was caused by propane gas, state authorities said Wednesday.

The explosion that killed Nashua resident Antonio De Souza appears to be accidental in nature, according to the New Hampshire state fire marshal’s office.

The investigation is ongoing.


US Department of Labor spokesman Ted Fitzgerald confirmed Wednesday that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is commonly referred to as OSHA, is also probing the incident.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Fitzgerald said the general contractor for the job was John Santo Builders LLC of Salem, N.H. USA Painting employed De Souza, said Fitzgerald. Sarette Plumbing and Heating also worked at the site of the explosion, he said.

When New Boston fire and police officials responded to the home at Foxberry Drive around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the building had already collapsed and heavy fire had swept through the structure, officials said.

De Souza was working inside the home at the time of the explosion, which was caused by propane gas that “originated from within the structure,” according to the state fire marshal’s office. That office said initial reports of a propane tank exploding at the residence are not accurate.

An autopsy is scheduled to be performed on De Souza’s body on Thursday at Concord Hospital.

Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.