APS worker who died after underground fire in Phoenix identified

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 13:20:21-04

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    PHOENIX, AZ (KTVK) — An Arizona Public Service (APS) worker is dead after an explosion sent flames shooting out of a manhole in downtown Phoenix Sunday night.

Arizona’s Family spoke to members of Grace Walk Community Church who confirmed Ricardo Castillo, 41, died Sunday night in the explosion in a manhole in downtown Phoenix. Castillo died just hours prior to his 42nd birthday on Monday.

“Today would’ve been his birthday and our hearts and prayers are with his family. it’s obviously a very tough day and we are with them and we will continue to be with him as this investigation continues,” said APS spokesperson, Suzanne Trevino.

“Ricardo is a husband.. a father… a grandfather and he was extremely well loved by his coworkers,” said Trevino. “He was very involved in his church… and mentored youth at his church.”

According to Phoenix fire, the incident occurred just after 10:30 p.m. near the area of First Avenue and Washington Street.

Phoenix fire said the inferno came from an APS underground electrical vault.

APS told firefighters that they had two workers down in the vault when the fire occurred.

According to Phoenix fire, one of the APS workers, a 46-year-old man, was able to get out of the vault. He suffered burn injuries to his hands and face. and was taken to Maricopa Medical Burn Center in stable condition.

Phoenix fire crews had to wait for APS to notify them that the electrical vault was deenergized before they made entry into the area.

Once firefighters extinguished the fire, they were able to confirm that the other worker, later identified as Castillo, had died.

According to APS, there are numerous power outages in several nearby buildings and there could be more outages throughout the day in the downtown area.

APS confirmed the following buildings had power shut off:

–Wells Fargo

–Phoenix Municipal Building

–The Maricopa County Administration Building

–Phoenix Civic Plaza South

APS added that additional sites are operating with partial power, including the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

The Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County was closed Monday. They will resume normal operations beginning Tuesday, July 2.

Valley Metro light rail service was restricted on Monday morning but has since been restored.

A scheduled policy meeting at the Phoenix City Council chambers on Tuesday has been moved to the Orpheum theatre.

Phoenix fire told Arizona’s Family they have trained for fires like these and have had a plan in place for over a decade.

APS released the following statement regarding the deadly fire:

“We are deeply saddened to report that an APS employee died, and another was injured, in an accident on Sunday night while they were performing planned maintenance. They were working in downtown Phoenix in an underground vault that houses electrical infrastructure. The underground equipment involved serves downtown facilities and venues, some of which are without power today until the area can be deemed safe and repairs can be completed. The cause of the accident will be fully investigated.”

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