Man dies in industrial accident
By Abigail Allen
Editor & Publisher
An industrial accident Jan. 25 resulted in the death of 29-year-old Jesus Gustavo Perez Vazquez, the injury of another Acadia worker and the loss of water that affected Providence Village residents until Monday.
During work to install a meter vault that would measure the amount of water flowing from the treatment plant in Providence Village to the town’s water tower, the area flooded as a result of “a failure” during the process.
“They replaced a section of the water pipeline to be able to get in there and build the vault,” said Jason Pierce, a representative of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. “They were making cuts into the pipe, if you will, to be able to connect the new pipe.”
Vazquez was under the flooding, and when he was recovered from the water, he showed no signs of life.
“He wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse,” Aubrey Fire Department Chief Eric Schlotter said.
Although the other Acadia worker initially declined transport to the hospital, he changed his mind, Schlotter said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Acadia and their construction family,” Pierce said.
The Aubrey Police Department launched an investigation of the scene and determined that no criminal charges would be pursued as of Wednesday, APD Chief Richard Brooks said.
“Other than it being an industrial accident, there’s nothing that we’ve uncovered different than that,” he said, adding that “any time there’s a death, we do a death investigation.”
The repair work was largely delayed until Friday, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration performed its own investigation.
After that, repair work began in earnest.
During the incident, the water in the elevated storage tank drained out, which made the system lose water pressure and prompted the boil notice that was issued for the entire town.
“We’re estimating it was between 400,000 and 500,000 gallons,” Providence Village Town Manager Brian Roberson said.
So far as the town was aware Tuesday, the incident had not affected the structural integrity of the water tower, he said.
“I don’t envision us passing that cost onto the town,” Pierce said.
Although the Upper Trinity Regional Water District was able to restore a portion of the town’s water service using an old line off of U.S. 380, not all of the water lines throughout town are connected to that portion of the service lines.
That left the area north of Fishtrap Road and west of Main Street without continuous water service for a longer period of time.
Crews restored water to most of that area late on Saturday evening.
During the outage, Denton County Emergency Management distributed bottled water to the families in town.
“That was incredibly helpful,” Roberson said.
The final portion of town to come fully back online was the area immediately below the water tower—Town Hall, Kids Korral and the police annex.
By Monday afternoon, the boil water notice was rescinded, and the town shared the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding flushing individual lines.
Providence Village residents can sign up for “Notify Me” services to receive updates pushed out by the town, which can be found on pvtx.gov.
Roberson was grateful for the community partners who helped handle the crisis and for the overall support provided by the town’s residents and business owners.
Mayor Linda Inman was pushing out the town’s information online regularly throughout the crisis, and Rhonda Bradford, who serves on the Economic Development Corporation, helped provide food and drinks to the workers who were working diligently despite the circumstances they faced.
“Most were just grateful that people were working to get things resolved,” Roberson said. “That’s ultimately why we’re here. We want to help people.”
A GoFundMe is available to help support the family of Vazquez at https://www.gofundme.com/f/jesus-gustavo-perez-vazquez.