FOX44 brings you the live coverage from the Coryell Memorial Hospital press conference. You can see our video above, in addition to our Facebook live stream below.
At the conference, Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Herald confirmed 15 people were injured and one person was deceased. This person has been identified as 44-year-old Michael Bruggman of Rogers. He was a worker on the site of the hospital.
Gatesville PD has contacted the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office and requested for them to lead this investigation. The investigation will focus on the debris field, as well as assessing damage to the hospital and nursing home facilities. Structural engineers are on site to help assess the damage.
Coryell Memorial Hospital CEO David Byrum says staff were helping people out of the rubble, and patients were transferred very rapidly. Over 100 people moved to local churches or back home with their families. The key focus now is to get the hospital back open and to bring the residents home. They were seeing an impressive response. 18 went with their families, and 13 from assisting living went with their families. They will push back construction. They are trying to establish a makeshift clinic. About 115 patients were evacuated, and they don’t know how many workers were on the campus. People cannot go to the hospital today, and have to call 911 if someone has an emergency.
Dr. Jeff Bates said nine patients were evacuated to Baylor Scott & White Temple, and seven of those people were transported to larger facilities. There are a number of specialists still seeing patients in Clifton. There is also a call center set up for residents.
Texas DPS Sgt. Dave Roberts said Rangers are on the scene, with the Criminal Investigations Division and emergency manager assisting.
Gatesville Mayor Gary Chumley said the community is “surrounded by heroes.”
County Sheriff Scott Williams said there was a major gas leak, and a fear of a second explosion was there. Everyone was running to the threat to help those injured. Everyone was fortunate due to the direction of the explosion. Williams said the danger level was high for some time. His department is concentrating their efforts on the debris outside, and says everything can start moving inside the building when the structures are deemed safe.
Four people have been transported to Dallas, and two have been transported to San Antonio. Another briefing will be held at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday. The Dell Seaton Medical Center in Austin says three patients are critical, and one is stabilized. The San Antonio Military Medical Center says three patients are in care.
The Office of the Coryell County Judge has also sent out a press release:
“Gatesville Police, Fire and EMS, Coryell County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety responded to Coryell Memorial Hospital after an explosion of undetermined origin at the rear of the hospital that was under new construction.
“Currently there is fifteen casualties and one fatality, identities of the fatality and injured are pending notification of next of kin. No patients, residents or staff were injured in the blast, but due to damage to the building all hospital patients and residents were relocated.
“Following the incident several Federal and State agencies responded to the scene. Representatives from the FBI, ATF and Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office are currently assisting the Gatesville Police & Fire Departments investigate the cause of the explosion. Texas State Fire Marshals Office will be leading the investigation.
“Multiple agencies from the Central Texas area responded to assist with rescue and recovery efforts during the incident. Full list of agencies is pending after the next press briefing.
“Coryell County Emergency Management Director Bob Harrell is the point of contact regarding the investigation and is still ongoing. At this time all the patients were evacuated from the Hospital, critical care patients were moved to other facilities. Patients at the Memory Carp Unit, Long-Term Care, Assisted Living Center, and Independent Living Apartments were sent to Westview Manor in MCGregor, Hillside Medical Lodge, and Sunset Lutheran Ministries.
“Coryell Community Church is currently the staging area for employees and staff for the Coryell Memorial Healthcare System. EMS services have been continuous.
“We ask that the media remain patient as this investigation is ongoing, the time table for the hospital to be operational is pending structural engineer inspection. Current number of casualties and fatalities will be discussed at the press briefing.
“Press briefing will be held at the Coryell County Commissioners Court located at the Extraco Building at 800 E Main Street Gatesville Texas at 11:45 CST 27 June 2018.”