Initial investigation into hospital explosion shows it was from natural gas break
A victim of the Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion has succumbed to his injuries on Thursday afternoon at Baylor Scott & White in Temple. His death brings the death toll to two. Fourteen other construction workers were injured in the incident.
Police have identified him as Filiberto Morales, 36, of Round Rock. He was an employee of Network Controls.
Some of the injured were construction workers for Lochridge-Priest, working on a $42 million expansion project.
The Railroad Commission of Texas said the cause of the explosion is under investigation. However, they said Atmos Energy, Mid-Tex reported a natural gas explosion within the boiler room of the hospital, which was undergoing the renovations. They also said that all natural gas main lanes leading to the hospital were isolated.
They added that the Railroad Commission had an inspector on the scene to determine if there were any safety violations.
The State Fire Marshal's Office was also on site in Gatesville. They were conducting an origin and cause investigation. The State Fire Marshal's Office said there is no standard timeframe for the investigation.
On July 1, the State Fire Marshal's Office concluded their forensic examination and released the property back to the Coryell Memorial staff. Although the cause of the explosion is still undetermined, the initial investigation indicates that it was a construction-related accident resulting in a natural gas explosion.
Rumors that the explosion was a result of a build-up of large amounts of migrate gas in the gas lines are not true, according to Gatesville Police.
The investigation is still ongoing and will continue until all victims and witnesses can be interviewed, which may take up to 6 months to complete.
Gatesville Police are still trying to make entry into the structure to collect evidence. On June 30, police encountered some structure-stability issues. They are working on getting the site of the explosion stable so they continue their investigation.
Michael Bruggman, from Rogers, was killed in the explosion. He was 43 years old. His funeral will be held July 2 at 11 a.m. at the Mayborn Civic and Community Center in Temple.
There will be a candlelight vigil in honor of Bruggman on June 30 at 8 p.m. It will be at The Lakes at Central Pointe in Temple.
Lochridge-Priest, who is dedicated to serving the HVAC, plumbing, electrical and mechanical needs of Central Texas for more than 50 years, is dedicated to supporting employees impacted by the explosion. Multiple members of the Lochridge-Priest family were impacted, with one fatality.
"First and foremost, our priority is to provide any manner of support possible to our valued LPI family, along with their loved ones. As an active member in the Central Texas community, we take seriously any event that impacts the lives of Central Texans, and we are dedicated to helping our Lochridge-Priest family to move forward. Please pray for us,” said Skip Burch, President of Lochridge-Priest, Inc.
One of the victims, Wilber Dimas, has burns on 70 percent of his body, including his face, back and upper torso.
Adolfson & Peterson, the general contractor for the expansion project, said they are fully cooperating with the agencies involved.
"Our team is deeply saddened by this tragedy, and we are working closely with 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," Corbett Nichter, president of the Gulf states region Adolfson & Peterson construction, said.
There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m. on Sunday for the reopening of the emergency room. Hospital officials are still trying to get the hospital up and running as soon as possible.
On Saturday, the Coryell Memorial Medical Clinic Building 1 opened for urgent care. The staff has labs, x-rays and ultrasounds, as well as medication and suturing. The urgent care was open 24 hours a day until the ER was up and functioning. Emergency room physicians and nurses were staffed.
Officials from Coryell Memorial Hospital said that within 5 minutes of the explosion, the building was nearly empty. They said that they had moved over 100 people within an hour, and they were all in beds shortly after.
A call center has been set up for families of residents. You can call 254-404-2500 if you have any questions
Officials also said the following services are open: Dialysis, home health, Goldthwaite Clinic and the Clifton Primary Care Center.
"Gatesville will preserve because we are Texas strong," Mayor Gary Chumley said during a press conference.
</p><p>After the explosion, nine victims were brought to Baylor Scott and White in Temple. The majority of these patients will be transferred to facilities in Austin and San Antonio. Hillcrest also received four patients.
One patient arrived in extreme condition with bad burns and also crush injuries to his head and chest. Six other patients had injuries to their face and were intubated as soon as they arrived. All of the patients that they saw were adult men.
On Thursday, David Byrom, CEO of Coryell Memorial Hospital, said four victims are being treated Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin, seven are at Baylor Scott & White in Temple and two are at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. There are no more victims being treated at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco.
On Monday, Skip Burch, Lochridge-Priest President, said they have five injured workers who remained at Texas hospitals. One worker is in at a burn unit at a San Antonio hospital, two workers are all Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin in the Intensive Care Unit, and the final two workers are at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas at the burn unit.
Johnson Controls, National Controls and Chaparral Insulation were subcontractors at the hospital.
Burch said Morales was employed with National Controls. Three other workers with the company remain in the hospital. Four workers from Chaparral Insulation were treated at the hospital, but have since been released.
Atmos released this statement:
First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the incident at the Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville.
As part of our normal operating procedures when Atmos Energy is called to the scene of an incident, we work closely with first responders to keep the area safe. Natural gas has been shut off to the hospital, and we have highly trained personnel on site.
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration is looking into the incident.
"We can confirm that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into this incident," OSHA spokesman Juan Rodriguez said.
Byrom said Texas Task Force 1 is assisting with the investigation.
The investigation is still ongoing. "We don't know what happened," he said.
No other information will be available until the investigation is complete.
Baylor Scott & White said they are requesting blood donations after this incident. Call 1-877-724-4376 to schedule your visit. For more on how to help, click here.
The Coryell Memorial Hospital evacuated patients after the explosion. Meadows Nursing Home also relocated patients by personal cars and church vans as a precaution.
The explosion happened at approximately 3 p.m. Authorities believe that this was a construction accident at Coryell Memorial Hospital. There were people burned, and they were evacuated to Parkland and other hospitals.
When the explosion happened, the power went out for miles.
The Gatesville Police Department responded to the scene along with multiple other agencies from all over Central Texas.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that he is praying for everyone involved in the explosion.
The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the first responders and those who may be injured on the scene of the explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville.
— TX AG's Office (@TXAG) June 27, 2018
Residents in long-term care are being taken to Hillside Medical Lodge, The Meadows Longterm and First United Methodist Church in Gatesville.
The McLennan County Sheriff's Office has 6 units in the area to answer calls for the Gatesville Police Department and the Coryell County Sheriff's Office while they respond to the scene.
Coryell Memorial Hospital is located at 1507 West Main Street in Gatesville, Texas. The 40,400 square foot hospital made ground in 1976.
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