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Friends and family gather to remember APS worker Rick Castillo, who died in an explosion

Posted at 9:34 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-06 01:18:03-04

PHOENIX — Family, friends and coworkers of an APS worker killed in an underground fire while on the job late last month gathered to pay their final respects Friday.

Rick Castillo died June 30th when an explosion caused a fire while he and another APS employee were doing overnight maintenance in an underground electrical vault near 1st Avenue and Washington Street.

Grace Walk Church near 75th Avenue and Lower Buckeye hosted a tribute service for Castillo, who served as a youth pastor there.

Church leaders say Castillo worked in their Celebrate Recovery ministry, leading a youth program known as 'the Landing.' Castillo worked with foster kids and those dealing with issues and addictions.

More than a hundred people packed into the church Friday night. Several people, including the youth he worked with, talked about how Rico impacted their lives.

"[He] changed their lives," said Pastor Fred Calloway with Grace Walk Community Church. "He got a number of them who were just way out there, came in, became normal, felt love, changed."

Calloway says he's known Castillo for roughly two years.

"He has a legacy," Calloway said. "Not everybody has a legacy. Not everybody makes an impact throughout the community, and his legacy is that he changed lives."

Castillo spent 12 years as an electrician for APS. The other worker with him at the time of the explosion suffered non-life threatening injuries has been released from the hospital.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, and some downtown buildings remained without power Friday as a result of the damage.