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Investigators Believe Deadly Home Explosion in Burlington was Caused by a Domestic Dispute

Racine County Sheriff’s Office believes one of the deceased in the Burlington home explosion on May 14 caused the fire due to a domestic dispute.

Also, one of the victim’s deaths has been ruled a homicide.

Sheriff’s Office and fire investigators were able to determine that the cause of the fire involved foul play.  Evidence at the scene included an LP gas line in the basement allowing the home to fill with gas and explode upon ignition.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the home was fully engulfed in flames upon arrival by deputies.  

Due to the severity and scale of the fire, members of the Racine County Fire Investigation Task Force were dispatched in order to assist with the investigation.

Investigators located two deceased individuals the day of the fire. Those individuals were identified by dental and DNA records as Nicholas Chaulkin and Craig Lambert.  During the week, investigators using cadaver  dogs were able to find Kimberly Howe.

Nicholas Chaulkin did not have any smoke in his lungs at the time of autopsy indicating that he was deceased prior to the fire. Chaulkin’s death was ruled as a homicide by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiners Office.  

According to investigators, the evidence suggests that Craig Lambert is responsible for the death of Nicholas Chaulkin, Kimberly Howe, and the subsequent fire and explosion.

According to investigators, Howe and Lambert were recently involved in a domestic dispute and Lambert was being kicked out of the residence.

 Howe and Lambert had been dating and living together for several years at the Ketterhagen address. Prior to the incident Kimberly Howe had been staying at a local hotel with her son Nicholas in order to get away from Lambert.

Just prior to the fire Kimberly Howe was on her way to the Ketterhagen address with her son Nicholas. Kimberly Howe placed a phone call to a witness indicating that she was enroute to ensure Craig Lambert was packing his belongings and leaving the residence, which was the final phone call placed by Howe concluding at 2:31 p.m. on the day of the fire. The first reports of a fire at the Ketterhagen address came into the Racine County Communications Center 45 minutes later at 3:16 p.m.

The injuries sustained by Lambert and Howe in the fire were so severe that the Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine the exact manner of death. However, autopsy results did reveal the presence of smoke in Craig Lamberts lungs which is consistent with him being alive after the fire began.

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