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11-year-old girl recovering after Derry, NH house explosion, family hopes to rebuild

Girl recovering from burns after New Hampshire house explosion
Girl recovering from burns after New Hampshire house explosion 02:59

DERRY, NH - For days now John Giso has been on a mission, searching for anything he can salvage in the ruins of his Derry, New Hampshire home which was leveled one week ago by an explosion and fire that tore through the Goodhue Road house.

"More so the stuff for my daughter, I got some of her stuffed animals that she loved, I was able to save a lot of them," Giso tells WBZ-TV.

Derry NH house explosion
John Giso and a friend sift through debris a week after his house exploded in Derry, New Hampshire CBS Boston

His 11-year-old daughter Violet is his miracle who crawled from the debris when the home exploded, suffering serious burns throughout her body, but now out of the hospital recovering.

"I'm at a loss for words," Giso said. "She was able to crawl out and run for help. I'm just thankful for that."

Violet was home for a snow day with her grandmother, 76-year-old Laura Percival, on April 4, when a tree fell on the backside of their house and onto propane tanks that likely sparked the explosion.

Violet Derry NH
11-year-old Violet survived a house explosion in Derry, New Hampshire CBS Boston

John Giso's mother-in-law did not make it out. "She was happy here, she loved being with Violet," Giso said.

John Giso says she was living with the family temporarily. He remembers rushing to the scene and seeing the smoke, but not allowed to access his property. Then he rushed to the hospital to be with his daughter whose spirits uplifted him.

"I saw her in the room, and she was shaking a bit, I was shaking a little bit. When my dad walked in to visit it was reassuring that she looked at my dad and wished him a happy birthday," Giso said.

Family hopes to rebuild home destroyed in explosion

It's a home they've lived in for seven years. With the help of a friend running an excavator they can lift one pile at a time and sift through it with a rake. He hopes to rebuild on the property, but says his daughter has a request.

"She did ask if we rebuild here that I take down some trees," Giso said. "My daughter's here and we can rebuild and start again and I think my mother-in-law would have wanted us to keep moving forward and be who we are."

An online fundraiser is also raising money to support the family which Giso says has left him both overwhelmed and appreciative.   

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