Jan 31, 2024 - News

Several lawsuits filed in Fort Worth's Sandman hotel explosion

Firefighters at the scene of debris next to a hotel

Fort Worth fire says the explosion remains under investigation. Photo: Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The site of an explosion that injured 21 people in downtown Fort Worth remains closed three weeks later, as lawsuits pile up in the case.

Why it matters: The Sandman Signature Hotel and Musume, an Asian fusion restaurant in the building, are shuttered while the source of the explosion remains under investigation.

  • So far, no one has taken responsibility for it and the answer might have to come from the courts.

Catch up quick: The Sandman Signature Hotel opened last spring in a historic 1920s building. Twenty-six of the hotel's rooms were occupied at the time of the Jan. 8 blast, which jolted downtown and filled the surrounding streets with debris.

  • 21 people were injured, one critically and four seriously. There were no fatalities.
  • Fort Worth fire officials told Axios yesterday that the explosion appears to be caused by "combustible gas."
  • Atmos Energy said on Jan. 12, after safety checks and an initial investigation, that it "found no indication" that its system was involved in the explosion.

What's happening: There are at least 10 lawsuits related to the explosion, KERA reports. The defendants include Atmos and the companies that oversee the hotel.

  • Workers involved in the building's renovation told the Star-Telegram that they were concerned about the quality of work on gas plumbing and other parts of the building.

Zoom in: One of the victims said through his attorney that he reported "the intense smell of natural gas, to the point of burning his eyes" to the hotel's management about 90 minutes before the explosion.

  • He had to crawl out of the debris after the explosion with a traumatic head injury and difficulty breathing.
  • He's alleging gross negligence in his lawsuit against Atmos, Sandman, its management and owners, and Musume restaurant.
  • "My client's injuries, and those of others injured in the fiery explosion, are severe and there is no excuse. This was preventable. We will fight for justice," his attorney, Eric Marye, said in a statement.

The other side: Atmos Energy and Northland Properties, the Canadian hospitality group that owns Sandman hotels, did not reply to requests for comment Tuesday.

  • Atmos Energy recently filed a motion seeking to prove that the leak was linked to the hotel itself. The energy company has asked a court for permission to gather evidence from the site and prove its allegation, per FOX4.
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