Investigation Continues into Deadly Coryell Memorial Hospital Explosion
Federal and state officials continue to investigate Tuesday’s deadly explosion at the Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville, Texas, that tragically killed a construction worker and injured 15 others, some critically.
The June 26th explosion occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m., in a construction area where the hospital was being expanded.
The blast caused the partial collapse of the building, shut off power to parts of Gatesville, and resulted in the evacuation of the hospital, as well as two nearby nursing facilities.
Construction Workers Employed by Waco-Based Subcontractor
The hospital expansion project was being managed by Adolfson & Peterson Construction.
All of the victims were employed by Lochridge-Priest, a Waco-based subcontractor.
Authorities have identified the deceased worker as 43-year-old Michael Bruggman of Rogers, Texas.
Witnesses have indicated that Bruggman was installing air conditioning on the building’s roof when the explosion occurred.
One Injured Worker Suffered Burns to 70% of His Body
Officials have not released the names of the injured. However, loved ones have come forward to identify some of those hurt in the blast. They include:
- Aaron Haveron, the pastor of a United Pentecostal Church in Marlin
- Vernon Barabas of Waco (father)
- Justin Barabas of China Spring (son)
- Wilber Dimas of the Waco area
- Matt Aaron of Oglesby
- Antoni Reyes of the Waco area
According to his family, Dimas suffered burns to 70% of his body and is unable to speak.
Four injured construction workers initially taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple have since been transferred to Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas,
Investigators Unable to Enter Explosion Site Due to Extensive Damage
The cause of the explosion is still unknown, as heavy damage to the hospital has so far prevented investigators from entering the blast site.
Witnesses have reported that a generator used to power tools exploded. Officials have also suggested that natural gas may have been involved in the explosion.
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is leading the investigation. Personnel from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Texas Railroad Commission are also on scene.
Coryell Memorial Hospital Closed Indefinitely
The investigation into the Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion is expected to take some time.
“It’s nowhere near the scale of West (fertilizer plant explosion in 2013) but it is still a tragic event so they’ll take their time investigating to ensure they are thorough and come to a proper conclusion,” Sgt. David Roberts, a public Information officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a Wednesday morning media briefing.
It’s not known when the hospital, the Coryell Medical Clinic, or the emergency room will be able to reopen.
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