APS electrician who died in underground fire was father, youth mentor at church

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Officials with APS have identified the worker who died in an underground fire in Downtown Phoenix.

According to fire officials, two APS workers were working in an underground electrical vault near 1st Avenue and Washington when a fire broke out. One made it out with burns to his face and hands, and one died. On Monday, officials with the utility company identified the worker who died as Ricardo Castillo, confirming earlier reports of the man's identity by a church in South Phoenix.

According to officials with Grace Walk Church, Monday was supposed to be Castillo's 42nd birthday.

"It's just shocking that we spoke to him yesterday and today he is gone," said Pastor Arnold Aguila with the Grace Walk Church.

On Monday, the congregation at the South Phoenix church mourned Castillo's death. Castillo is known to the congregation as "Rico", and he was in charge of a group at the church called "The Landing". Castillo also helped youth overcome addiction and self-harm.

"He went out of his way to do so many things on his own, not through the church," said Pastor Arnold Aguila with the Grace Walk Church. "He's the kind of leader that he knows what he needs to do, and he doesn't hesitate to do it."

Pastor Aguila said other than his wife and his four children, ministering and mentoring the youth was the most important thing to Castillo.

"Rico was a great, great man," said Pastor Aguila. "The legacy that he's leaving behind, we will pick it up where he is leaving it off, and we will try to fill in the shoes he's leaving behind, because they are huge."

The tragedy will not be easy to overcome, but Castillo's church family finds comfort in knowing where he is at now.

"We are firm believers, and we know we will pass through the season of grieving and then celebrate where he is at because I know personally of his relationship with God," said Pastor Aguila.

APS officials also released a statement on Castillo's death.