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4 rescued, 3 more hurt after house explodes, collapses in Vernon

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VERNON -- A house exploded in Vernon Thursday afternoon around 4:15 p.m. Dozens of first responders from surrounding towns and the state responded to the scene.

The house is located at 4 East Street, and it completely collapsed. The remaining structure remains unstable.

A search and recovery team responded to the to the scene to extricate any and all victims.

Four people were rescued after the explosion, and an additional three were outside the home first responders arrived. They were all brought to the hospital.

The four rescued victims included a 7-year-old boy, 15-year-old girl, 23-year-old man and 35-year-old man. The young boy was the most seriously injured, and had "significant" injuries and is in serious condition.

The three people who were outside included an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old and a 60-year-old man. All four children were taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the 23-year-old man and 35-year-old woman were taken to Hartford Hospital and the 60-year-old man refused treatment.

Of the four children, one was released after being treated at the hospital. The other three have "significant, but not immediately life-threatening injuries," according to pediatric surgeon Dr. Brendan Campbell at CCMC. They were admitted to the the pediatric trauma unit.

Dr. Campbell couldn't speak to the specific injuries the children sustained, but said did speak about the types of injuries that patients in explosions, such as those in Iraq or Afghanistan, typically sustain.

Campbell explained that significance of these types of injuries are proportional to how close the victim is to the blast, varying from ruptured eardrums, to internal injuries, broken bones, burns and other more minor injuries. He couldn't say if any of them required surgery, but said that these types of injuries can be significant and often times do require surgical intervention, as well as ICU care.

At 5:40 p.m. police said one person may still be trapped, but officials are now almost certain everyone is out. Search and rescue teams and K9s kept searching to ensure everyone got out.

Gov. Dan Malloy also responded to the scene to monitor the situation. His spokesperson, Devon Puglia, said in a statement:

There were dozens of first responders as well as search and rescue teams out in Vernon. The governor wanted to show his support for them and their work. This is what everyone trains for - and they are doing an outstanding job at a time when lives are on the line. Our thoughts continue to be with those who experienced injury.

At least one other person who lives at the home was confirmed to be out when the explosion occurred. Police think it may be a multi-family home, but are still trying to track down all the residents.

Besides officers and fire officials from surrounding towns, as well as the Vernon fire marshal, State Police and the State Fire Marshal's Office responded, and so did the Tolland state's attorney.

Eversource also sent an emergency response team to deal with the situation and turn off any gas or electricity to the home.

No word yet on what caused the explosion.

Stay with FOX 61 as this story develops.

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