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Pastor: ‘Explosion was right in front of’ worker injured at Richmond church

RICHMOND, Va. -- A worker is recovering after he was injured in an explosion at a downtown Richmond church Thursday afternoon.

The explosion happened in a boiler room at the back of Second Presbyterian Church along 5th Street

Pastor Alex Evans said he was out on the sidewalk when he heard a “loud” boom.

"We had some workers working in our boiler room and there was an explosion and some smoke and fire, so it was very loud,” Evans said.

Boiler room

Boiler room

Richmond Fire Investigators said a worker was painting a door while an HVAC crew was also doing some work when the fire was reported.

A quick-thinking employee at a nearby parking deck was one of the first people on scene who helped the injured man.

The painter suffered facial burns.

"I saw him, he went away in the ambulance and needed some medical dare,” Evans said. “The explosion was right in front of him."

Pastor Alex Evans

Pastor Alex Evans

At the time of the explosion, about 80 people were inside the building, including children attending daycare.

"We all got out of the church very fast," Evans said.

The pastor said that first responders arrived quickly.

Fire investigators and city inspectors are working to determine the cause of the explosion.

Evans said the congregation is keeping the injured worker in their thoughts and prayers.

"Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Evans said. “We have deep concerns for his family and his coworkers and we are just doing our best to see what happened, what caused this and how we all can be supportive."