The Allen County Coroner’s office identified the man who was killed in the home explosion in northwest Allen County Tuesday.
The victim has been identified as 55-year-old Nathan Sliger. His family has been notified.
The Allen County Coroner determined that Slinger died from smoke inhalation and thermal burns.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Sliger’s remains were found just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, some 10 hours after firefighters were called to the 5100 block of Wallen Road on a report of a house fire.
When crews arrived on scene they found the two-story home fully engulfed. It eventually fell and was leveled.
Residents in the area say they heard and felt a loud explosion later followed by a second explosion. One man said he woke up to an explosion and looked out to see the home fall.
Debris could be seen scattered around the area. A door was laying on the ground across the roadway from the home.
Nearly seven hours into the investigation, it was still unclear if anyone was inside the home at the time of the fire. Huntertown Fire Chief Mike Feely said that may be the case, though.
“We fear there may still be someone inside,” he said.
By 5 p.m., the fear was realized. The sheriff’s department told WANE 15 then that the victim’s family had been notified.
It’s still not clear how the explosion happened. Feely did tell WANE 15 Sliger’s body was found in the basement of the home, near the boiler. The family apparently told fire investigators the 55-year-old had been working on the boiler.
Firefighters worked the scene throughout the day Tuesday with smoke still rising well after midday. The smoke was gone by Wednesday morning as cleanup crews arrived at the home.
Feely said the homeowner was an avid gun collector and they were being careful as they investigated in case of hazardous explosive materials in the basement such as black powder, fireworks, and ammo. ATF investigators were called to help in the investigation.
Wallen Road had to be shut down between Huguenard and Fritz Road while crews worked the fire. It has since been reopened.
NOTE: A fundraiser has been established through Facebook to raise money for the Sliger family. That fundraiser can be found HERE.