Coryell Memorial CEO says hospital "back in business" following deadly explosion

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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Update: The CEO of Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville says they are back open for business, though there is still a lot of cleanup to be done.

In a news conference Monday, hospital CEO David Byrom said the building has been structurally reviewed from top to bottom and the entire complex has been released for occupancy.

Just under 30 assisted living residents, who were evacuated following last Tuesday's explosion, returned home Sunday. And, Monday more than 70 nursing home residents were being relocated from facilities throughout central Texas back to the facility in Gatesville, said Byrom.

Gatesville Chief of Police Nathan Gohlke says the cause of the explosion, that killed two, is construction related, but the actual cause could take months to determine.

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The State Fire Marshall's Office has concluded its onsite forensic examination at Coryell Memorial Hospital Sunday after the deadly explosion that left two construction workers dead and 14 other severely injured June 26.

Gatesville Police Chief Nathan Gohlke said the entire property was turned back over the hospital staff Sunday morning.

Offiicals said the cause of the blast is still undetermined but the initial investigation indicates it was a construction-related accident resulting in a natural gas explosion.

Gohlke said "rumors that this explosion was a result of a buildup of large amounts of migrate gas in the gas lines, are not true."

Authorities are still in the process of interviewing all of the victims and witnesses, which Gohlke said could take up to six months to complete.

Nine of the 14 construction workers injured in Tuesday's explosion still remained hospitalized Sunday.

Two of them are at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, three at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio, and four at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin.

Coryell Memorial Hospital, which was closed after a massive explosion Tuesday afternoon in a building under construction at the rear of its campus that rocked the whole complex, reopened its emergency room Sunday morning.

Early Friday evening the hospital announced that it will begin providing urgent care services out of its Clinic 1 building beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

"It will be continuous until the ER opens," hospital spokeswoman Carly Latham said in a text.

"All that is standing in the way of the ER opening is air conditioning," she said.

Hospital officials said earlier this week that reopening the emergency room was a priority.

They initially predicted that it could take a week, but the pace of cleanup and repairs has caught them by surprise.

“The buildings have been cleared structurally and we are so excited we're moving faster than we ever thought we would,” hospital spokeswoman Carly Latham said Friday.

"Today we're actually going to be cleaning out and opening clinic building one to our staff to get in there and re-set up everything,” She said.

Hospital administrators confirmed earlier Friday the repairs of Clinics 1 and 2 were going so well, they both could be open soon for patients,

"We're hopeful to open the clinics back up to our patients in the next for five days,” Latham said.

Since structural engineers determined the explosion, which killed two workers and left 14 others injured, didn’t cause cracks in any of the existing facility’s foundations or walls, crews have been working around the clock making the necessary repairs.

In the administration building across the street from the closed hospital, workers are crammed into a small work area to keep serving patients,

"We got three girls working in one cubicle. Everybody's in here working and we're trying to contact patients that are calling in to refill prescriptions and re-schedule appointments so there's just a lot going on," Latham said.

"We take care of our patients. That's where our heart is and we put our patients first and we just want to get back to doing that. Physicians are working, some of them out of our dialysis center here, and some of them are practicing out of Clifton doing surgeries, in Clifton and in Waco."