By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

HOMER, Alaska (AP) - A water heater is the suspected source of an explosion that killed a Homer man Tuesday night, Alaska State Troopers said.

Gary Thomas, 68, died in the explosion inside a home just outside of Homer.

The state fire marshal is conducting an investigation to confirm the source and determine the cause of the explosion, said trooper spokesman Ken Marsh by email. A preliminary investigation pointed to the water heater, he said.

Thomas’ wife had reported him overdue and the Homer Police Department and Thomas’ friends launched a search. Searchers traced Thomas’ phone to a home off East End Road northeast of Homer and a friend spotted Thomas’ vehicle outside the home.

A Homer police officer entered and found Thomas’ body. Police alerted troopers to investigate. Troopers called in the state fire marshal to determine which appliance was involved and how the explosion occurred.

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