2 Killed in Explosion in VA Hospital in Connecticut

Two people were killed in an apparent stem explosion in a maintenance building at a Veteran Affairs hospital in Connecticut on Friday, according to the Associated Press. Sen. Richard Blumenthal confirmed the deaths, and Max Reiss, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont, said a third person was missing. One of the people who died a was VA employee and the other was a contractor.

"We received a report this morning that an explosion occurred at the West Haven campus of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System that resulted in two deaths in a non-patient care area," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. "Neither of the victims were VA patients and patient care was not affected. Emergency personnel are on the scene,” the statement said. “Our prayers are with the families of the victims of this explosion."

The AP said the contractor who died worked for Mulvaney Mechanical, which is located in Connecticut. The company vice president Charles Brough said he was uncertain about the work being done at the hospital, and the name of the contractor was not released. Sen. James Maroney released a statement and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their life in the explosion at the VA [Friday]," Maroney said as reported by WFSB. "I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the first responders who are on hand dealing with the situation as we wait to find out what caused the explosion." The Connecticut Department of Veteran Affairs also released a statement on the accident.

"The Leadership and Staff of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) are deeply saddened by the tragic accident at the Federal VA in West Haven and extend our condolences and prayers to the families of the victims and to our Federal colleagues who continue to care for Connecticut's Veterans," DVA Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi said. The area where the explosion happened was taped off by late Friday morning but people were allowed to enter and exit the main hospital building.