Jan 9, 2024 - News

Fort Worth hotel explosion injures 21

Debris from the bottom floors of the Sandman Signature Hotel in downtown Fort Worth covered the surrounding streets and parking garage after an explosion Monday. Photo: Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

An explosion at a downtown Fort Worth hotel injured 21 people — one critically and four seriously — Monday afternoon.

The big picture: Police haven't confirmed what caused the explosion, but said construction was going on in the building and the blast appears to be caused by a gas leak.

  • "It's heartbreaking for downtown Fort Worth, of course. At this point our hearts and prayers are with the victims at area hospitals," Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker told reporters.

What happened: The explosion occurred just before 3:30pm at the Sandman Signature Hotel on 810 Houston St. First responders evacuated people trapped in the basement as firefighters worked to put out flames inside the building.

  • Authorities also noticed a gas odor in the area and notified Atmos Energy.

Context: The hotel opened last April in the 20-story W.T. Waggoner Building, built in 1920.

  • Twenty-six rooms were occupied at the time of the explosion, police said. Guests either got out on their own or were rescued by first responders.
  • The Musume restaurant inside the Sandman wasn't open at the time of the explosion, but said on Instagram that three of its employees were injured and taken to a hospital. They were in stable condition Monday evening.

What's next: Police said their arson and bomb experts, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also helping with the investigation.

  • "We have not made 100% determination, but we wanted to make it clear that this was some type of gas explosion. We're still working on the details of that to figure out what all caused that," Fort Worth police spokesperson Craig Trojacek told reporters.
  • Atmos told Axios in a statement that "gas has been isolated to the affected area" and the company is working with authorities in their investigation.

Flashback: Texas fined Atmos $1.6 million in 2021 for an explosion at a northwest Dallas house that killed a 12-year-old girl in 2018.

  • The National Transportation Safety Board found then that the energy company had "inadequate" pipeline management in the girl's neighborhood and didn't adequately detect gas leaks in the area before the fatal explosion.
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