HOPKINTON, NH (CBS) – Two men who allegedly broke into a Hopkinton, New Hampshire business on Tuesday morning were killed in a massive explosion, officials said.
The State Fire Marshal says that the men, identified as Lucas Bourke, 21, of Allenstown and Ethan Keeler, 21, of Epsom, were using an oxy-acetylene blow torch to try and cut into a large safe inside a workshop at New Yard Landscaping on Farrington Corner Road.
That safe contained a large amount of commercial-grade fireworks, which exploded.
The two men were killed in the blast.
Officials would only say that the men did not have permission to be on the property. However, Tom Komisarek, the owner of New Yard Landscaping, told WBZ-TV that the men had already loaded some items from the business into a nearby vehicle.
Komisarek says Bourke may have been familiar with the property and the safe, but not the safe’s contents.
Komisarek added that he was saddened by the news.
“I just want to put my feelings out toward the families of the individuals that are deceased,” said Komisarek. “My thoughts are with them at this point.” (Continued…)
Kent Keeler, a cousin of Ethan Keeler struggled for answers on Wednesday.
Keeler says family members are wondering why Ethan would have put himself in that situation.
“I think he just didn’t know who he was yet,” said Kent Keeler. “I feel like he was trying to find out where he belongs.”
Keeler noted that his cousin was always put family first.
“He stood up for me in high school when people would pick on me,” said Keeler. “He put family over everything.”
The interior of the building also suffered heavy damage from the explosion.
Neighbors near the business heard the explosion.
“I heard the boom first and then immediately felt the tremor,” said Janice Farenwald, who lives near the blast site. “There was definitely an odor that came through the window, I could tell something was burning, so I thought something must have exploded.”
The investigation into the explosion is still ongoing.
WBZ-TV’s New Hampshire Bureau Chief Michael Rosenfield contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelWBZ4
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