Explosion damages Erie Middle School, sends 3 to hospital

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Erie Middle School

Erie Middle School

ERIE, Colo. — A gas explosion was reported Wednesday afternoon at Erie Middle School, leaving three contractors injured, according to Boulder County officials.

Officials said the explosion took place just after noon and also caused a partial roof collapse at the school, which is located at 650 Main Street near the center of town.

The victims were evacuated and transported to an area hospital, with at least two of them being described as suffering from second degree burns. One of them was in critical condition late Wednesday night.

People who live across from Erie Middle School say the explosion came in waves.

“I was watching TV and I heard this big old boom,” said neighbor Lisa Armijo.

“Just heard a big explosion and I originally thought it was a a bunch of metal pipes falling,” said another neighbor.

John Vanderpoolk was in his garden where he said the blast rattled his home. 

“I felt like a shock wave hit me and then there was an explosion immediately behind that,” he said. 

 When he looked up, he saw something shooting from the roof over the school’s gymnasium.

“It looked like a refrigeration or air conditioning unit flying through the sky some 30 to 50 feet up in the air,” Vanderpool said.

Paramedics rushed three to the hospital. Officials say one was in critical condition, one was in serious condition and the third worker was treated and released.

There were only construction workers inside the school Wednesday. Faculty, staff and students are all still on summer vacation.

The school, which has a reported enrollment of 524, is currently preparing for a renovation project, though construction on the project is yet to begin.