WICKLIFFE, Ohio (WJW) – The man killed in a garage explosion in Wickliffe Sunday has been identified by police.
Firefighters were called to the scene in the 1700 block of Ridgeview Drive at 10:46 a.m.
The body of Nathan Greger, 18, was found once the fire was extinguished in the garage, according to a release from the Wickliffe Police Department.
According to fire officials, Greger lived at the home. He was the only person believed to be home at the time.
Neighbor Melanie Melaragno, whose daughter was friends with Greger, said the young man was a light.
“Vibrant, energetic, like any other teenage kid. They have their whole life ahead of them,” said Melaragno.
“It’s devastating, it heartbreaking and you can’t wrap your head around it.”
The release said police and firefighters at the scene saw explosions of apparent fireworks consistently going off for over 10 minutes after the initial call.
“It kind of like, rocked the house and sounded like fireworks going off,” said neighbor Charnae Jones recalling the moment of the explosion.
The fire chief warned residents to be careful with what they have in their homes, especially something that could be explosive like fireworks or propane.
“Fire and police were on the scene within minutes,” Wickliffe Fire Chief James Powers said. “They found a garage that was fully involved in fire from what appeared to be a pretty significant explosion. It doesn’t appear suspicious, other than a terrible thing that went wrong.”
The fire chief said the explosion luckily didn’t impact other homes and cause more injuries, but any loss of life is a tragedy.
Investigations found that fireworks were stored in the back of the garage.
While the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the release said there is nothing that makes investigators believe that this event was anything other than a tragic accident.
“The Wickliffe Police Department extends their condolences to the family of Nathan during this difficult time,” The release said.
Police ask that any witnesses or anyone with video recordings contact the Wickliffe Police Department Detective Bureau at 440-943-1234.
Melaragno has started a fundraiser for the Greger family. As of Monday afternoon, it had raised more than $12,000 of a $15,000 goal.