Investigators are on the scene of a catastrophic explosion at a Texas construction project that killed 1 and has injured another 15 workers. The explosion occurred on Tuesday afternoon at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville, Texas, which is being expanded.
The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but KWTX news is reporting that the investigation has been narrowed to the hospital’s new utility plant, which is under construction and will eventually contain the facility’s boilers and chillers. Several witnesses on the scene said that they saw an on-site generator explode, but that is not confirmed as the official cause.
Late Thursday evening, the Waco Tribune Herald reported that officials confirmed that the explosion happened in a boiler room, but the actual cause still remains unknown.
All 15 of the surviving victims are in critical condition after the explosion, with some suffering serious burns. KWTX said that the blast was strong enough that it spread debris across a 6.5 acre area.
Adolfson & Peterson Construction is the General Contractor on the project, but at least some of the injured workers were employees of subcontractor Lochridge-Priest, Inc. There are conflicting reports regarding which company all of the injured were employed by. None of the hospital’s patients or employees were among the victims.
Corbett Nichter, president of the Gulf States Region of Adolfson & Peterson Construction, offered his condolences to the victims and their families: “Our team is deeply saddened by this tragedy and we are working closely with our partners at Coryell Memorial and Lochridge-Priest to provide support during this time. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those injured and lost.”
The explosion did cause some damage to the existing facility, but was not catastrophic. The Gatesville Police Chief expects the investigation to finish by next week, at the latest. We’ll follow up with the results of the investigation at that time.
KWTX News 10 has more information in the video below: