Man, child 'lucky to be alive' after camper explosion

A man and a boy were inside a camper when it exploded in the driveway of a friend's home in Tiverton.

A propane tank explosion in Tiverton early Friday morning destroyed a camper, injuring a man and a boy, and crews said both were lucky to be alive.

The explosion happened at about 7 a.m. at 163 Lawrence Court.

"The walls blew out. The roof lifted up and came back down on itself," said Lt. Joseph Plocia of the Tiverton Fire Department.

Ernest St. Laurent was at work when he got a text saying a trailer behind his cousin's home exploded.

"Blown to smithereens. All four walls are down, it's terrible. Unbelievable," St. Laurent told NBC 10. "My cousin John was actually sleeping inside the house. He got woken up by a pretty big bang obviously."

A family friend and his son were inside the camper when the explosion happened. The man was trying to light a propane tank when it blew. He and the boy pulled themselves out of the debris with only a few minor burns.

"Very lucky, extremely lucky to be honest with you seeing that camper. I'm shocked somebody didn't get hurt more," St. Laurent said.

The man was taken to Rhode Island Hospital and the boy to Hasbro Children's Hospital. Both were expected to be OK.

"By all accounts they're extremely lucky they were inside this camper. The camper actually exploded and for them to actually be able to self-extricate and walk away is pretty amazing," Plocica said.

Firefighters, the gas company and police shut down a section of the neighborhood during the investigation. Power and all utilities were cut off to the home.

The owner of the trailer said he thinks it is a total loss.