Eight employees of a contracting company based out of Lumberton were reported to have suffered personal injuries in an explosion at a middle school in midtown Newport News, Virginia.
According to Newport News Police spokesman Lou Thurston, the workers “suffered varying degrees of injuries” in the blast at Crittenden Middle School.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the injured workers were employees of Lumberton-based T.R. Driscoll Inc. Thurston said he was unable to confirm that report.
Thurston said that the company had been performing repair work at the school for approximately five weeks. He said that when the explosion took place, they were melting tar and re-tarring the roof.
According to Thurston, some of the victims were severely injured.
As of November 29, the names of the victims had yet to be released. Thurston said the school was uncertain that their identities had been confirmed.
Police in Newport News responded to the initial call at 6:55 a.m. When they arrived, all of the victims were outside the building. Thurston said it was uncertain how they got out and who helped them.
All eight victims received ambulance transport to hospitals. Thurston said four victims originally received transport to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, a Level II trauma center. Three received transport to Sentara Hampton CarePlex Hospital in Hampton, Virginia and the other injured worker was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, another trauma center.
Two of the injured workers initially taken to Riverside were later transferred to Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and the other two were later transferred to Sentara Norfolk General.
The explosion resulted in a large wall in the school’s shop area collapsing. Thurston said the damage appears to have been confined to one room.
The cause of the blast remains under investigation, but police reportedly said it appears to be related to the repair work, according to the Associated Press.