BRIDGEPORT, CT (News 12 CT/CNN) – A Connecticut woman is recovering in the hospital after officials say during a power outage, she lit a stick of dynamite left by a previous owner instead of a candle.
When the power went out in her neighborhood Thursday night, police say the 30-year-old victim found what she thought was a candle left behind in a basement drawer by a previous homeowner.
But it was a quarter-stick of dynamite, which exploded, causing serious injuries to the woman's face and hands.
The victim's neighbor 20-year-old Steve Johnson says he heard the explosion and ran outside, horrified to learn the victim was being rushed to the hospital.
"I heard, like, a big bang, so I'm thinking it was a gunshot at first," Johnson said. "All I can do is just probably pray."
Officials say the woman's husband and two children were home at the time of the incident, but they were not hurt.
Upon learning there was a second explosive device in the house, fire officials say they called in the state police bomb squad and evacuated the victim's residence and surrounding houses.
The other device was safely detonated elsewhere, according to fire officials.
"They responded and detonated the device to safely dispose of it. They also checked the house to make sure there were no similar devices found and, just as a precaution, we evacuated the houses close to the house, just to make sure," said Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode.
Thode says it's National Preparedness Month, and everybody should learn from this tragic mistake.
"It's a tragic accident. It really is. Something we can get out of this is that people should be prepared when we have power outages. They should have flashlights, glow sticks, things like that to really make sure that they can handle being without power for several hours," he said.
Authorities say the police will not be pressing charges in the case because the family had no previous knowledge that the illegal explosive devices were in their home.