U.S. Navy veteran from Milford identified as VA campus explosion victim

A U.S. Navy veteran was identified as one of two victims killed in a steam explosion at the West Haven VA hospital campus Friday, officials say.

News 12 Staff

Nov 18, 2020, 1:40 AM

Updated 1,305 days ago

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A U.S. Navy veteran was identified as one of two victims killed in a steam explosion at the West Haven VA hospital campus Friday, officials say.
Euel Sims Jr., 60, of Milford, was killed when conducting maintenance at the facility. Sims spent 21 years in the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees.
After serving, he wanted to give back to his fellow veterans and started working at the VA hospital in West Haven, where he was a plumbing supervisor.
"I know that when he left the Navy, his desire was to continue to serve those who have served and he did that honorably," says Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie.
Wilkie paid tribute to Sims today during a stop in West Haven to tour the facility and offer condolences.
"He was an example of what we all strive to be and that is putting service before self," he says.
The deadly incident happened in the basement of an outer building during maintenance work on a steam pipe. A contractor with Mulvaney Mechanical in Danbury also died, but his name has not been released.
As federal and state agencies investigate, a wooden cross is now up outside the explosion site in memory of both men.
Sims' obituary says he leaves behind a wife, two sons, and four grandchildren and that he now "rests in peace with his late Shih Tzu, Gizmo."
"We do consider ourselves a family at VA CT health care system and that includes all of our 3,500 employees. The emotions are still raw but we will move forward, and as soon as the investigation is complete we will also take that into account to make improvements," says Medical Center Director Alfred Montoya.
Concerns have been raised about aging infrastructure on campus and whether that contributed to the explosion. The building dates back to the 1950s and had been on a list of facilities to be replaced.
Wilkie committed to future construction.
"The changes are coming here to the hospital," he says.


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