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Two men injured in N.H. ice fishing explosion

An explosion in a fishing shack on Lake Winnipesaukee sent two New Hampshire men to the hospital on Sunday morning, one with significant burns, according to a statement from the Gilford Fire Department.

Gilford firefighters responded to reports of screaming coming from the ice on Smith Cove, in the area of Fay’s Boat Yard on Varney Point Road, according to the statement.

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The blast occurred when one of the men tried to light a gas heater inside the shack. The explosion blew the shack apart, sending one wall flying 15 feet, according to the statement.

“These guys were extremely lucky that they were not injured more severely and that they were close enough to shore to get help quickly,” said Gilford Fire Chief Stephen Carrier in the statement.

The men were transported to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, N.H., one with minor burns to his head, hair, and face, and the other with significant burns to his forearms, legs, lips, forehead, and possibly his airway, according to the statement.

The victim with less severe burns was treated and released, said Gilford Fire Lieutenant Jeff Madon. The other victim was transported to a Boston hospital, and information about his condition was not available.

“It points out that you can never be too careful,” Carrier said. “Many of the [shacks] on the lake have some type of heat source and, whether it is wood or gas, if it is not used or installed correctly, it can create a hazard.”

The explosion resulted in a flash fire, meaning the shack did not catch fire afterwards, but the blast caused charring and melting inside.

There are no regulations or oversight for construction or use of the shacks, but based on the number of them on New Hampshire lakes, there are relatively few problems, “though it is not unheard of,” read the statement from the Fire Department.

Jeff Fish can be reached at jfish@globe.com. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.

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