Employee injured in November Aerojet explosion has died

It's been five months since an explosion rocked Aerojet Rocketdyne in Rancho Cordova and sent two employees to the hospital. One of those victims has died.

The Nov. 19 explosion at the Aerojet hanger is still under investigation by CAL-OSHA. Robert Ortiz, 54, of Citrus Heights, spent five months in the hospital with serious injuries; he died on April 14.

Robert Ortiz's brother David Ortiz spoke briefly to News10 this Thursday evening.

"It's really too early to say anything because everything is still going on," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said his entire family works at Aeroje: David Ortiz, his brother Robert Ortiz and Robert Ortiz's wife. Their father and uncle retired from Aerojet. Robert Ortiz worked at Aerojet for 33 years. He was just a year shy of retiring.

Loved ones don't know much about the blast. Aerojet has not publicly commented on it. The local International Association of Machinists released a brief statement:

"At this time we have no comment on the details of the open investigations into the alleged industrial accident that resulted in the death of Robert Ortiz. In working with OSHA and Company Representatives it is the intent of the Union to get to the bottom of the circumstances that allowed for such a tragedy to occur, and, as we move forward, we will make every effort to ensure that proper safety measures are put into place at Aerojet Rocketdyne (Rancho Cordova) in order to prevent, to the greatest extent possible, anything like this from happening again."

CAL-OSHA said there have been no other accidents at this facility in the past five years.

A memorial fund has been set up in his name on behalf of his family:

Robert Ortiz Recovery Fund

Safe Credit Union Account #585341


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