Underground Electrical Explosion Kills One

An explosion and fire in an underground electrical vault last month has left one man dead and another man injured.

ABC 15 in Phoenix reports that on Sunday, June 31st at approximately 10:30 p.m. Ricardo Castillo,41, an electrician and 12-year veteran with APS was working with another APS technician approximately 10 feet underground to replace a power cable. An explosion and fire occurred, and Castillo was killed in the blast.

Emergency crews arrived on the scene to see one of the workers outside of the manhole where flames were shooting out of the opening. A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department said the 46-year-old APS worker had suffered severe burns to his hands and face. He was transported to a hospital burn center for treatment.

Castillo leaves behind a wife, five children and a large community at his church, Grace Walk Community Church. Pastor Arnold Aguila said in a statement that the congregation is still trying to come to grips with the loss of Castillo.

“We’re going to try to fill in the shoes that he’s leaving behind because they’re huge,” Pastor Aguila said.

So far, investigators believe that an electrical flash is what caused the fire and explosion inside the electrical vault.

The blast left the Wells Fargo Tower, the Phoenix Phoenix Convention Center, the Phoenix Municipal Building, and the Maricopa County Administrative Building without power for several days. Approximately 1.000 workers were forced to take time off or work remotely from home.

APS reports that power was restored to the affected buildings on July 5th.

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