West Haven, Connecticut (AFP) – An apparent steam pipe explosion on Friday at a maintenance building at Veterans Affairs Hospital in Connecticut killed a Virginia employee and contractor and left a third person missing, officials said.
Robert Wilkie, Virginia secretary, said patient care was not affected by the explosion at the Connecticut Healthcare System’s West Haven campus.
“Emergency personnel are at the site,” Wilkie said in a statement. Our connections are with the families of the victims of this explosion. “
Max Reiss, spokesman for Governor Ned Lamont, said a third person was missing.
West Haven firefighters described the accident as a “steam explosion” at facilities built a short distance from the hospital, according to their union on Facebook.
Democratic Governor Ned Lamont said state emergency management officials would provide assistance as necessary to conduct an investigation. He said the initial indications were for a steam tube.
“This is a heartbreaking tragedy,” Lamont said. “I have instructed our state agencies to provide full resources as the response and investigation continues.”
US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said one of the people who died was a Virginia employee and the other was a contractor.
This type of explosion may be the result of a mechanical malfunction or a mistake on the part of someone in Virginia. “We have no firm facts yet,” Blumenthal said.
Company Vice President Charles Brow said the contractor who died worked at Mulvaney Mechanical Corporation, headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut. He said he had no information about the work in progress, and the company did not disclose the name of the contractor.
The campus area where the explosion occurred was recorded late Friday morning, but people were allowed in and out of the main hospital building.
A spokesman for the Federal Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, Jim Laley, said the department is looking into what happened.
Associated Press writers Dave Collins in Hartford and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.