15 people were injured and one more was killed in an explosion on a construction site at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville, TX at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the explosion, but Coryell Memorial Hospital CEO David Byrom stated that there’s a chance it was related to a gas line. According to officials, at least seven people injured in the blast are in critical condition, most of whom are suffering from second- and third-degree burns.
“I don’t know the decimal level (of the blast), but it was pretty loud I can promise you that,” Byrom, who was in a board meeting at that time, said. “The shock wave was tremendous.”
After the blast occurred, he said that first responders and employees at the hospital quickly jumped into action. No patients or hospital staff members were injured in the blast according to Byrom.
“I’m surrounded by heroes where I work. It’s very impressive. Probably within five minutes of the event, my staff had that building nearly completely empty,” he said.
The construction area suffered extreme damage from the blast. Other areas of the hospital also suffered damage, including its nursing home. Residents of the nursing home were transported to nearby churches and other facilities, and the hospital is currently closed. There is no concrete timeline for when it will reopen.
“Most of our core services, including the acute care hospital, our emergency room, our nursing facility and assisted living are not open today,” Byrom said. “So, our focus is getting those facilities back online.”
According to Texas-NM Power, the blast also knocked out approximately 900 homes’ and businesses’ power in the surrounding area.