Explosion rips through Dover apartment

DOVER — An explosion severely burned a man and damaged two units at the Alder Park Apartments shortly after noon Tuesday, causing three residents in an apartment directly above to be rescued with one receiving treatment for minor injuries, fire officials said.

A cause for the blast had not been determined pending completion of an investigation. The name of the burned man and an estimate of damage was not available.

Dover Fire Department received the 911 call at 12:07 p.m.

A neighbor, Kenneth Bazemore, said he was awakened by a loud blast and glass hitting the ground. He ran outside and saw an unidentified naked man lying in front of the building next to him at 51 Webbs Lane.

Smoke was still pouring out of the apartment, Mr. Bazemore said, and several bystanders were attempting to assist the wounded victim.

“It looked like he ran out of the building and collapsed,” he said. “People were trying to help him but it looked like they didn’t know what to do.”

The wounded man “wasn’t coherent. He was rolling around on the ground probably because he had just inhaled about two tons of smoke.”

Mr. Bazemore described the man’s body as “half black and the other half with a lot of his skin peeled off.”

According to fire officials, a third floor apartment above the blast was also damaged and three persons needed rescue.

One was treated for minor injuries and did not require transport to the hospital.

Fire crews lingered at the apartment complex for more than an hour as the fire marshal and Delaware State Police investigated.

Several dozen onlookers gathered around the apartment complex as the response continued.

Mr. Bazemore said he knew immediately that the blast sound was something out of the ordinary.

“I knew for sure it wasn’t a car backfiring or anything like that because of how loud it was,” he said.

“Once the paramedics arrived, they were very professional in the way they handled things,” Mr. Bazemore said.

The Camden-Wyoming Fire Company also responded to the scene. Cheswold and Little Creek fire companies covered for Dover while on the call.

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