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#5024: Explosion set off deadly fire (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Explosion set off deadly fire
 By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff, 9/5/2000 

Marc-Henry Valentin dropped off his mother and his aunt at church
 Sunday morning and returned to their Mattapan home, then
 retrieved the key to the garage so he could mow the lawn.
But something terrible happened when he went into the large building
 behind the house. An explosion followed by a fierce fire leveled the
 garage. And yesterday, family, friends, and neighbors mourned the loss
 of 34-year-old Valentin.  Although the body found in the rubble has not
been positively identified, Valentin's loved ones said there can be no
other conclusion  but that it is his.Valentin has not been seen since
the fire. His car was still parked outside; his keys and wallet remained
in his bedroom of the rented house on Monponset Street that he shared
with his parents and other relatives. ''He never stayed out, never would
not come home,'' Valentin's older  sister, Chantal Brunache of
Stoughton, said last night. ''He was a very quiet boy,'' she said,
''never got into any fights.'Valentin had come to the United States from
Haiti eight years ago. He  graduated from the University of
Massachusetts at Boston and was  working for Community News, the home
delivery subsidiary of The Boston Globe.  Brunache said her father told
her Valentin had gone into the house for the garage key just before the
blaze erupted. Neighbors said they saw the flames shortly after noon and
called the Boston Fire Department.''It was a horror show, believe me,''
said Louise Branson, who lives  across the street. ''The flames were
leaping up in the air.''Fire officials were on the scene most of the
afternoon and only later in  the day discovered the body in an area
where a shed had been attached to the garage. Damage was estimated at
$75,000, including two cars in the garage and three outside. The heat
was so intense it melted the vinyl siding on the back of the home. ''He
was a good, peaceful young man,'' Branson said. ''In his habits, very
neat.' A spokesman for the Fire Department, Stephen McDonald, said that
neither the precise cause of the fire nor the victim's identity would be
released last night. ''It's not suspicious,'' McDonald said. Valentin's
friends and family felt the loss. ''He had a whole bunch of friends in
the Haitian community,'' said Brunache.