Two children found dead after East Haven home gas leak

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EAST HAVEN--A tragic scene unfolded on Strong Street in East Haven Tuesday afternoon.

Two children, a 5-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, were found dead when officers responded to a medical emergency around 2:41 p.m.

When police arrived, they found the children's mother, a 36-year-old, despondent. A gas leak had occurred, officers said, though they said they were unsure if it was a gas leak or breakage.

However, Police Chief Brent Larrabee did say based on his observation, it appeared the gas had been turned on.

The officers exited the home, but three were taken to the hospital due to exposure to the gas. The mother was also taken to the hospital due to exposure to the gas and injuries on her arms, though it's unclear what those injuries were caused by. None of the injuries to the officers or woman are considered life-threatening, and all are conscious, Larrabee said.

The deaths are considered suspicious, and Larrabee says the bodies had been there for some time, possibly more than 24 hours.

State Police Major Crimes Unit and the state medical officer have joined East Haven Police to investigate the issue, which is near the intersection with View Street.

Neighbors in the area call their community "close knit." They're not sure if they'll recover emotionally.

"Nothing ever happened on this street and it’s definitely going to be something I’ll always remember. I wish I didn’t have it embedded in my head, but I will," said Lisa Criscuolo, who lives a few houses down from the scene. 

Carolyn Parillo, who lives across the street from the home, worried about explaining the situation to her 10-year-old since she said they both saw the now-deceased children playing outside this weekend.

"It's just devastating," she said.  "I never imagined that it would be this tragedy. It’s just heartbreaking."

Mayor Joe Maturo said he notified the school district of the deaths and counseling will be available. Police officers too will have resources mental health available because of the tragic nature of the situation, according to Larrabee.