Two people performing mechanical work at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut were killed on Friday morning in what officials described as a steam explosion.
The cause of the explosion, which took place on the campus of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven, Conn., was still being investigated, the authorities said. But Gov. Ned. Lamont said in a statement that early evidence suggested that the explosion might have been caused by a steam pipe.
Neither of the victims have been publicly identified. But Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said at a news conference that one of those killed was a V.A. employee and the other was a contractor.
At least one other person was reported to have been seriously injured, he said.
“There has to be a full, complete, searching investigation as to what the cause was for this fatal tragic explosion,” said Mr. Blumenthal, a member of the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee.
Mr. Blumenthal added that “no firm facts” were available, but suggested that the blast might have been tied to a mechanical issue.
“My understanding is that they were working on some mechanicals that required both an employee and a contractor,” he said.
At the same news conference, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the West Haven campus, which is just miles from downtown New Haven, had a “very old mechanical system” that required “constant maintenance.”
The explosion took place about 8:20 a.m. at a building that does not provide patient care, according to an email sent to employees of the V.A. Connecticut Healthcare System.
The union representing West Haven firefighters referred to the incident as a “steam explosion” in a statement.
A spokesman for the Connecticut State Police said that it had received reports of “serious injuries” at the site and had sent detectives from its fire and explosion unit to assist the investigation. Federal agencies also said they were prepared to help local officials.
Governor Lamont said state emergency management officials were also responding to the explosion.
The secretary of veterans affairs, Robert Wilkie, said in a statement that patient care at the hospital had not been interrupted, and that he would provide updates when more information was available.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs said the hospital was expected to hold a news conference on Friday afternoon.