GATESVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A construction worker is dead and 12 others injured after an explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville caused, hospital officials said Tuesday.
The incident, described as a construction accident in the rear of the hospital, happened around 2:30 p.m., leading to an immediate hospital evacuation.
Dark smoke was seen billowing from the building after the blast, which is believed to have been caused by a gas leak from a boiler in a part of the hospital under construction. Photos show broken and collapsed walls, with debris strewn in the area.
No patients, staff members or long-term care residents were injured in the blast. Those injured were all construction workers.
“It was a tremendous blast, it felt like a bomb going off,” a hospital official said.
Humberto Perez, who works at the nearby El Tapatio restaurant, said, “Everyone just ran outside to go see what it was.”
Perez, who volunteered at the hospital during high school, said he hopes the woman he helped for a year is all right. “That makes me think that anything can happen in an instant,” he said of the explosion.
Austin-Travis County EMS sent five ambulances, a district commander and a division chief to the scene, along with the agency’s ambulance bus.
ATCEMS units are returning to Austin Tuesday night after helping move nursing home patients.
Four patients were sent to Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin.
The Austin Fire Department also sent three trucks, one battalion chief and 10 structural collapse technicians to help after getting a request from the state.
The explosion knocked out power to about 900 surrounding homes and businesses.
“I think we’re fortunate and blessed that there were no more injuries than there were,” Coryell Memorial CEO David Byrom said.
Gatesville, a town of about 12,300 people, is located north of Fort Hood. The hospital, a 25-bed facility, is located at 1507 W. Main St.
Scott & White Blood Center is asking for blood donations. Call 877-724-4376 or go to BSWHealth.com for information.
With reporting by Brittany Glas and Wes Rapaport.