Husband dead in explosion


Mon, April 3, 2006

38-year-old Cumberland man is dead and firefighters were searching early this morning for his wife and three young children after an explosion destroyed a single bungalow home.

Police said the man, who neighbours identified as Frank Mailly, came running out of the house completed enveloped in flames at about 9:15 p.m. He then collapsed in the front yard where he died.

Two other structures on the property at 2413 Dunning Rd., believed to be garages, were also consumed in the blaze.

"It was a brick house," said a neighbour, who didn't want to be identified. "When there are no walls left, you know it was a big explosion to go down like that."

Residents within a 1 km radius could feel the impact of the blast. Many came running out of their homes crying in fear.

Clouds of smoke

Witnesses described a lot of flame with large clouds of smoke. Meanwhile, the street was lined with emergency crew vehicles.

"I heard a big boom as if it was a propane tank exploding and when I came outside it was just a huge ball of fire," said a woman whose home backs onto the Mailly property.

About 60 firefighters with 20 trucks battled the blaze that was still smouldering early this morning.

Police cordoned off the area with yellow tape and closed Dunning Rd. ,between French Hill Rd. and Innes Rd., while they investigated the cause of the explosion.

There was no damage estimate last night, but fire officials said the home and the two other structures were completely destroyed.

Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Mike Laviolette said arson investigators were on scene and were searching other family members.

Worked a mailman

Mailly was described as a reclusive man and worked as a mail carrier for Canada Post.

Neighbours said he had recently separated from wife Francine, believed to be in her mid-30s. Francine and their three children -- Jessica, 12, and her two younger brothers Brandon and Kevin -- had moved to a townhouse in Orleans.

One neighbour said Francine's vehicle was in the driveway at the time of the explosion, however, police couldn't confirm that last night.

Neighbours last night feared the worst for the the family which has lived in the area for 10 years.

"(Francine) was the sweetest lady, her kids were always first. She loved them so much," said one nearby resident.