Explosion reported at Gatesville hospital

GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Emergency crews responded to a report of a large explosion Tuesday afternoon at a construction site at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville and there are reports of injuries.

Ambulances were being requested from surrounding communities.

Firefighters were responding from surrounding towns and cities, as well.

At least two area hospitals are on standby, expecting to receive injured victims.

The nearby Oaks at Coryell and the Meadows, both of which are nursing facilities, are being evacuated.

“I got hit in the head by a light fixture, but I’m okay," said one witness who was near the construction site when the explosion happened and asked not to be identified.

“There was an electrical generator on the other side of the building and it just blew up and scattered stuff all over the place.”

He said there were others who were hurt.

“We just got everybody we could out of the building,” he said.

Other construction workers were gathered in the front of the hospital.

Firefighters were sent shortly at round 2:15 p.m. Tuesday to the hospital at 1507 West Main St.

Initial reports indicated the explosion occurred in an area in which the hospital is being expanded, possibly in a boiler room.

There were unconfirmed reports that a building collapsed and that people may be trapped as a result.

The area in which the explosion occurred is under construction and does not yet house patients.

Cellphone video showed a cloud of black smoke rising from the grounds of the hospital after the explosion as the first fire crews arrived.

Power was out in downtown Gatesville and at the Coryell County Courthouse and some traffic lights were dark.

Gatesville police would only say the department was dealing with a major emergency and would provide no other details.

There was no other information on what might have happened, but it was known some streets were closed and one witness said there was a lot of black smoke visible in the area.

“I was on Levita Road picking up my dogs when I heard this loud noise and by the time I got up to Memorial Drive there were all kinds of police and fire trucks headed that way,” Gatesville attorney Tanya Place said.

She lives on Memorial Drive a short distance north of the Coryell Memorial Hospital.

“There’s a lot of smoke, a lot of smoke,” she said.

Ground was broken in November 2016 for a major renovation and expansion at the hospital.

The 117,000-square foot project includes new operating rooms, a new 25-bed hospital wing, administration offices, a 16-bed rehabilitation facility and a new central plant that houses chillers and boilers.

John Elliott

John Elliott

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