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Colleagues Mourn Loss of Victims in VA Hospital Explosion

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“It’s not a normal day,” West Haven VA Medical Center employee John Davis said.

Just two days after Veterans Day, a navy veteran and longtime employee and a contractor at the West Haven VA Medical Center were both killed on the job while repairing a steam pipe.

"Things happen and oh man it’s just bad,” Davis said. “You got a good set of workers up here you know, everybody at the VA."

Davis is now mourning the loss of his friend and co-worker while keeping his family in mind.

“Good guy, nice supervisor, it’s very tragic, very unfortunate and this time of the year, they’ve got to be feeling it man,” Davis said.

Two people have died and three were injured following an explosion Friday morning at the West Haven VA hospital.

“He was just a hard-working man, everybody just respected him,” George Pearsall, also a West Haven VA Hospital employee said.

Pearsall said he just saw his colleague Thursday and his loss will be felt throughout the VA hospital campus.

“Everybody knew him, he was a person that wherever he is needed he was there,” Pearsall said.

Also killed in the explosion was a contractor from Mulvaney Mechanical Inc. out of Danbury. Vice President Charles Brough released this statement Friday reading in part, “We have been advised of a significant event at the West Haven VA Hospital involving our personnel. We are cooperating in all matters investigating what has transpired. At this juncture we have been apprised of the death of one of our team members.”

Co-workers who knew the victims killed in Friday's explosion at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven spoke about their friends and the heartbreak being felt by the staff there.

“Not much we can really feel right now other than we lost somebody,” Pearsall said.

About 30% of the VA hospital employees like Pearsall are veterans themselves, many of them passionate about giving back to their fellow servicemembers.

“Kind of puts you back you know during Vietnam. Your person that’s there he’s gone and then he doesn’t come back. You know we’re never ready for that,” Pearsall said.

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