Residents return home after Coryell Memorial explosion

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 20:36:07-04

It's been nearly a week since the deadly explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville.

After countless hours of investigation and repairs, the hospital is allowing residents to come back to their homes.

At 91-years-old, Janelle Kerr has seen plenty, but last Tuesday, she couldn't believe her eyes. 

"All of a sudden there was this huge blast. I think a couple of the pictures fell off the wall," Kerr said.

Kerr was one of more than 100 residents and patients evacuated from Coryell Memorial after an explosion sent debris flying across six acres of land.

"The initial investigation did indicate that it is a construction-related accident resulting from a natural gas explosion," said Gatesville Police Chief Nathan Gohlke.

Officials have spent the last six days working around the clock to get the hospital back online.

"I want to assure the community again that this building is safe. We are what we were Tuesday morning before this occurred," said David Byrom, CEO of Coryell Memorial Healthcare System.

Over the weekend, the staff reopened urgent care and the emergency room. A few residents, including Kerr, were also welcomed back.

"I was home again and it was peaceful and I knew they would take care of me," Kerr said.

Residents in the Welcome Program and The Oaks, the assisted living facilities within the hospital, are all back in their beds. Those in The Meadows, the rehab and long-term care facility, will be settled in by Tuesday.

"This is their home. They may have been here for years, they know the staff, we know them. We're like family in a lot of ways," said Amy Patterson, The Meadows administrator.

Kerr said she feels safe once again now that she's surrounded by her friends and caretakers. She's also looking forward to watching the entire hospital make a comeback. 

"It was like being back home in a hometown," Kerr said.

Bryrom said that the entire hospital will reopen on Tuesday. Everything will be up and running, except for the operating rooms.

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