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Fire at new Xcel building becomes fatal: One worker dies from injuries

Roper Copelin
One of the workers who was severely burned and shocked during an incident on Saturday at the new downtown headquarters of Xcel Energy has passed away.

Roper Copelin, 30, died early Sunday morning at UMC's Timothy J. Harnar Regional Burn Center in Lubbock. Copelin’s supervisor,

Keath Garrison, is also being treated at the burn center in Lubbock. Garrison remains in critical condition.

On Saturday, Copelin and Garrison were severely burned during an electrical fire at Xcel Energy’s future downtown headquarters located at Seventh Avenue and Buchanan Street,. The workers were transported to the hospital in critical condition and later transferred to the Lubbock burn center.

Officials said the workers were drilling into an electrical box on the second floor of a parking garage when the fire started. Other workers at the construction site said the two men may have made contact with electrical lines.

The Amarillo Fire Department responded to the blaze at 1:47 p.m., and a second alarm was immediately sounded. In all, 26 firefighters from eight units responded to the site and had the fire under control at by 2 p.m.

The Amarillo Fire Marshal’s Office and Amarillo Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit are investigating the fire.

Southwest General Contractors and Opus Design Build, L.L.C., plus several other subcontractors are working on the building, which is one of the main pieces of downtown Amarillo's revitalization efforts.

“Work at the site has been suspended for the weekend following the incident,

Opus is investigating the cause of the incident. Our sympathies and prayers are with the families of the two workers," Opus spokesperson Meagan Pick said in a statement.

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