Clinton propane gas explosion seriously injures two

Explosion at trailer park in Clinton. (WTNH/Kent Pierce)

CLINTON, Conn. (WTNH) — An explosion at a mobile home park left two people with severe burns and traumatic injuries after it rattled homes for miles in Clinton Thursday morning.

Police have identified the victims as 64-year-old Leo Hinkley, who is in critical condition, and 61-year-old Candace Hinkley who is in serious condition.

At approximately 12:30 a.m., The Clinton Emergency Communications Center received a surge of phone calls reporting a loud explosion and houses being shaken.

“Pictures came off the wall, dog was shook up,” said Ray Szewczyk, who lives nearby. “It was about 12:30 and a big BAM and everything just shook.”

Calls came in from multiple areas of the town of Clinton.

“The majority of the community was awoken by a large explosion,” explained Chief Brian Manware of the Clinton Fire Department. “Our dispatch center took multiple 911 calls. Going through that list, it took about 6 minutes to get the location here.”

Shortly after, officials received calls saying that there was a fire at Evergreen Park Complex located on Killingworth Turnpike. After responding to the area, Clinton Police and Fire emergency responders found a mobile home that had been destroyed due to an explosion.

Mika Maye lives nearby and said he thought a tree had fallen on his home. “I live 150 yards away, and it blew my door open, blew the trim off of windows,” he said.

Then he heard a man, Leo Hinkley, screaming for help. He grabbed two fire extinguishers and ran to the burning home. It was a double wide trailer that had been unit 11, but was now just burning wreckage.

Maye said a police officer arrived and ran in to rescue Candace Hinkley from inside the home. Both Hinkleys were transported to Bridgeport Hospital by Life Star helicopters with serious injuries.

Police say investigation has determined that the explosion was not caused by a propane cylinder exploding either inside or outside the residence. However, officials stressed that it was a propane gas explosion.

Clinton Police received assistance from Old Saybrook, Madison, and Killingworth Police agencies as the blast was felt in numerous towns.

The fire has been extinguished and the debris field is secured. The State Fire Marshall is continuing to investigate.

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