Two boys aged 4 and 5 were wounded with a .38-caliber revolver they found while searching for chewing gum in a purse belonging to the younger boy's mother, authorities said.

Jeremiah Curtis, 4, of Lake George was in serious condition Thursday in the intensive care unit at St. Francis Hospital after he was accidentally shot by his companion. The boy's lung collapsed, and he lost part of his liver and much blood, officials said.Benjamin Mabrey, 5, of Florissant was in satisfactory condition at St. Francis with a hand injury, authorities said.

The shooting occurred Wednesday when Deborah Curtis and her son, Jeremiah, stopped at the Mabrey residence in Florissant, 40 miles west of here, said David Pierson, a Teller County sheriff's deputy.

Jeremiah was looking for chewing gum in his mother's purse when Benjamin saw the .38-caliber revolver and pulled it out, the deputy said.