Family continues searching for answers one year after deadly Soulard explosion

A boiler-plate explosion in Soulard was captured on surveillance camera at a nearby BP gas station. Credit: BP

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – It’s been a year since an explosion killed four people in Soulard and one family is continuing to search for answers.

On April 3, 2017, a large industrial boiler exploded at the Loy-Lange Box Company on Russell Boulevard. A substantial piece of the boiler then traveled around 500 feet and crashed through the roof of the Faultless Healthcare Linen building.

Watch: Surveillance video shows Soulard boiler explosion

Fifty-nine-year-old Kenneth Trentham was killed in the initial explosion at the box company. When the equipment crashed into the Faultless Healthcare Linen building it struck two employees, 43-year-old Tonya Gonzalez-Suarez and 46-year-old Christopher Watkins, killing them. A fourth person, Clifford Lee, 53, was trapped under the hot boiler after it crashed into Faultless Healthcare Linen. He later died as a result of his injuries.

Following the deadly explosion, a News 4 investigation revealed the company had not held its own inspection of the facility for six years.

About a month after the explosion, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said the equipment had been operating under an emergency repair for nearly five years, calling it “uniquely vulnerable” to catastrophic failure due to severe corrosion.

One year after the explosion, Watkins’ aunt, Glenda Gordon, told News 4 she still blames the city and company for the deadly explosion. She previously told News 4 her nephew and his wife were arriving for their first day of work at Faultless when they were killed.

Gordon said she has an attorney and is looking at possibly suing the city. She said the family just wants to know who is at fault.

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