Mother of the man killed in rail tank explosion comforted by Elmendorf resident

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – While waiting for the news of her son, Flor Lira broke down crying after one of her son’s friends, who also works at the rail yard off of Old Corpus Christi Road, had called her saying her son, Gary Garza, was trapped inside the tanker.

Shortly after, police told Lira that her 39-year-old son died from an explosion while cleaning out the residue inside the rail tank.

“Our hearts go out to the family members and those that worked around him and knew him,” said Marco Pena, chief of police for the Elmendorf Police Department.

Elemendorf police worked with multiple San Antonio and Bexar County agencies to pull Garza out of the tank, along with another worker trapped on top of the rail car.

Police said one man was airlifted in critical condition and four others were taken to the hospital for injuries but were conscious. 

“It was very chaotic,” Patricia Castenda said.

Castenda lives nearby and went to the scene after her family heard the explosion. She didn’t know Lira, but she knew she had to comfort her, saying, as a mother, she couldn’t imagine what Lira was going through.

“It’s really hard,” Castenda said. “I just couldn’t stand to see her because she has just been crying and crying.”

Castenda said her heart goes out to all of the families involved in the explosion. 

“This is tragic -- the young man, not doing wrong, being at work and to lose his life," she said.

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