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Maintenance Worker Dies Of Injuries Suffered When Boiler Exploded At Phila. School

By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- School officials say the maintenance worker who was injured when a boiler exploded at a school in West Oak Lane has died.

It was about four months ago when the boiler at the Franklin Edmonds Elementary School exploded while 61-year-old Christopher Trakimas was working on it.

He suffered 3rd degree burns and other injuries as a result, and he died yesterday at Einstein Hospital.

The incident prompted outrage and protests from the union representing maintenance workers, and eventually led to the inspection of every boiler, nearly 600 of them, in the district.

Most were found to be in good working condition. Some needed repairs and about a dozen were replaced.

Mayor Kenney issued the following statement on Trakimas' death: 'I am profoundly sad to learn that Christopher Trakimas has lost his life after a four-month battle for recovery. Christopher was a dedicated employee and member of SEIU 32BJ who worked on behalf of the School District and its students for 25 years. He will be sorely missed by the entire school community and his fellow laborers.
The safety of students and school staff remains of paramount importance to me. Since this incident, the City and District worked diligently to inspect all school boilers District-wide. It is a shared responsibility amongst the District, City, and Commonwealth to make sure that schools have the necessary resources to properly maintain and enhance school facilities. We will continue to fight for fair funding for our schools, and do everything we can to make sure that this type of preventable tragedy never happens again.
I send deep condolences to Christopher's friends and family. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.'

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