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Victim ID'd In Fatal VA Hospital Steam-Pipe Explosion

Eul T. Sims, Jr.
Eul T. Sims, Jr. Photo Credit: TributeArchive

One of the two men who died in a fatal steam pipe explosion at the West Haven VA Hospital has been identified.

Friends, family, and coworkers said they are mourning the loss of Eul T. Sims, Jr., of Milford. He was 60 when he died.

Sims was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He retired after serving 21 years in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the SeaBees, according to his obituary. Sims is survived by his wife Cynthia Petrie, his children, and grandchildren.

People who knew Sims said he was kind and supportive of the staff and patients at the VA. Sims was the type of person, a woman said in an online tribute, you could always count on for help.

A steam pipe exploded at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital on Friday, Nov. 13, killing two workers - a U.S. Navy veteran (Sims) and a contractor who has not been named. The pipe burst happened in a maintenance building that is separate from the hospital. No patients were injured or in danger from the explosion, hospital officials have said.

It is not clear what caused the steam pipe to burst, the matter is under investigation.

Sims was identified Tuesday, Nov. 17 - a day in which politicians visited the hospital and made pledges to fix the damage and improve the hospital overall. 

The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs visited the hospital and Connecticut lawmakers called on the federal government to rebuild parts of the West Haven Veterans Affairs medical complex following a steam-pipe explosion.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said they would make rebuilding the damaged parts of the hospital a top priority once president-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office in January, according to the Hartford Courant. The capital plant where the pipe burst may need to be completely replaced.

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