Carlsbad, NM Major Gas Main Explosion, Aug 2000
ONLY ONE SURVIVOR REMAINS FROM NEW MEXICO EXPLOSION.
AMANDA SMITH FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE AT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER.
Carlsbad, N.M. - Burn victim BOBBY SMITH one of six initial survivors of a gas pipeline explosion in Carlsbad, N.M., died of his injuries Monday afternoon at University Medical Center, said Kim Davis, hospital spokeswoman.
SMITH'S 1:25 p.m. death was the 11th stemming from the Saturday morning explosion at a Carlsbad, N.M., campground. Only one of six who survived the blast was still clinging to life Monday evening at U.M.C.
"BOBBY SMITH, age 43, had second-degree burns to 60 percent of his body," Davis said Monday. "Family members here at the hospital are grieving now."
The remaining survivor, AMANDA SMITH, was in critical condition and under the care of burn expert Dr. John Griswold.
The six who survived the family disaster were flown to U.M.C. "because we're the only burn unit for 200 miles in any direction," Davis said.
Among the victims transported to Lubbock were ROYLEE HEADY, 20, who died Saturday night, and his wife, 18-year-old AMY HEADY, who died about an hour later. Also dying Saturday were AMANDA SMITH'S mother and daughter; 47-year-old GLENDA SUMLER, and KRISTEN SUMLER, aged 5. KRISTEN died en route to Galveston late Saturday, Davis said.
BOBBY and AMANDA SMITH'S relatives, including BOBBY'S mother and siblings and AMANDA'S brother, are at the hospital, Davis said.
"More than 30 people are here," she said.
El Paso (Natural) Gas Company are flying in relatives virtually from around the world. "We have family members from as far away as Italy and California, who came to be by their relatives' side."
Monday evening, AMANDA SMITH continued to suffer from second-degree burns to 20 percent of her body, "but smoke damage to her lungs is the primary concern to the doctors," Davis said. Her condition is critical, she said.
"The families are doing as good as they possibly can, considering they've just lost 11 family members," Davis said,
"and they're just praying that the life of the 12th will be saved."
"From everything that I've seen, they're
a very close family and they're all pulling together. They have a lot of faith."
El Paso Natural Gas has sent three representatives to make sure the family's
needs are met, she added.
Treatment for SMITH includes fluid therapy, antibiotics, respiratory therapy treatment and debridement, or cleaning and removing burnt flesh, she said.
"BOBBY had a twin sister, Billie, and she keeps saying over and over, 'His kids needed him, so he had to go too,'"
Davis said. "It's heart-breaking."
A statement released by the SUMLER and SMITH families to the media reads: "We wish to let the community know we are pulling together. Loved ones from across the country and around the world are gathered here at U.M.C. to pray for the full recovery of AMANDA SMITH. We also have gathered to mourn the death of 11 family members we all loved so deeply.