State Police identify victims killed in ‘pressure event’ that led to super-heated water vapor on West Haven VA campus

New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Connecticut State Police have now identified both victims who were killed in what investigators described as a ‘pressure event’ that led to super-heated water vapor to fill the room they were working in at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus on Friday.

Police say that on Friday, Nov. 13, the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit responded to the report of a steam boiler explosion at 950 Campbell Avenue, which is the campus of the West Haven VA hospital.

Related: U.S. Dept. Of Veteran Affairs Secretary visits West Haven VA hospital campus days after deadly explosion

It was later determined that two people died in the blast. One was previously identified as 60-year-old Euel Sims, an employee of the VA Facility Maintenance Service.

On Thursday, police released the identity of the second man killed. He was identified as 36-year-old Joseph O’Donnell, an employee of a contractor working on the steam system.

Three others suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Officials with the Department of Veteran Affairs Police Service, DEEP, FBI, ATF, State Building Inspector, OSHA, West Haven Fire Department, West Haven Fire Marshal’s Office, West Haven Police Detective Bureau, Office of Inspector General, and the OCME, all responded to the scene.

Related: 2 killed, 3 hurt in explosion on VA hospital campus in West Haven, officials say

According to state police, the CSP-FEIU investigation determined that a “pressure event” occurred within the steam system that was being worked on. “This caused super-heated water vapor to rapidly fill the room and building.” They said that this was not a fire or an explosion.

Sims and O’Donnell were not able to evacuate the room and suffered fatal injuries. There was no apparent criminal aspect.

The incident remains under investigation.

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