One year ago today a large explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville took the town by surprise.
The blast killed three construction workers and forced the evacuation of the entire hospital.
Today, the community came together to remember those tragic events.
“It started like any other day. We were in the middle of our routine and we heard a large boom. We look out the window and can see big plumes of smoke and fire that’s going on in what was the central utility plant under construction,” said Amy Patterson Ivy, an employee of the hospital at the time of the explosion.
A natural gas leak was later blamed for the huge explosion.
“Immeadiately when it happened I went in towards the flames, but when I started seeing people come out that’s where I went. I went to help victims and patients,” said Diedra Wuenschel, Chief of Staff at Coryell Memorial.
“The building that was housing all of the heating and air conditioning, the top was just completely blown out. It was just an incredible sight, the debris that blast created,” said Gary Kafer, the district director for State Rep. JD Sheffield.
Three construction workers, Michael Bruggman, Wilber Dimas and Filberto Morales, died, and 15 others were severely injured.
“Our hearts go out to those families who lost loved ones, but on the flip side of this the good news is that it could have been so much worse,” said Kafer.
“We want this to be a moment of remembrance for the families and victims of that day and the horrible tragedies that occured there, but we also want to remember that this is a day of many blessings,” said David Byrom, CEO of the hospital.
A crowd gathered on the first anniversary of the blast to remember those who were lost, but to also give praise to those who helped the town through the tough time.
“I’ve seen this hospital and their employees, and people in the community standing on hope. Not being overcome by despair but finding victory in hope,” said Tim Crosby, pastor at Trinity Baptist Church.
Much of the praise is given to hospital staff and emergency responders who kept the situation from getting worse.
A year later, employees are looking forward to finishing new construction at the hospital.
“Now everyone has to a large extent recovered and has alot of that hope back for moving forward,” said Patterson Ivy.