Natural Gas Played Role in Fort Worth Hotel Explosion, Officials Say

Officials in Texas have yet to determine exactly what caused an explosion at a hotel in downtown Fort Worth that injured 21 people, but believe natural gas was involved, Jim Davis, the city’s fire chief, said at a news conference Tuesday evening.

The blast, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday at the Sandman Signature hotel, resulted in part of the building collapsing into the basement, leaving one person burned and others with concussions, strains and lacerations from the debris, Chief Davis said. The person who was burned remained in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, he said.

“Obviously there was gas, natural gas, involved — we do not know if gas caused the explosion or the explosion caused the gas problem,” Chief Davis said. “It’s just a matter of the chicken or the egg.”

Earlier Tuesday, at a briefing before the City Council, the Fort Worth police chief, Neil Noakes, said that officials had “absolutely no indication that there was any intent by anyone to cause this explosion.”

Chief Noakes said that he was at City Hall, less than half a mile from the hotel, when the explosion happened. He heard the sound and saw windows rattle and then went to the scene.

“It was chaotic,” he said. “It was devastating. It was kind of hard to see here in Fort Worth, in the heart of Fort Worth.”

All of those injured are adults, and a secondary search involving cadaver dogs Tuesday afternoon did not turn up any additional victims, Chief Davis said at the news conference. “We can confidently say at this point we have no indication that anybody is missing.”

Photos shared on social media by the Fire Department showed walls and windows blown out of the building, and a firefighter pulling a woman out of the rubble.

The 245-room, 20-story Sandman Signature hotel occupies one of Fort Worth’s most historically significant buildings, the W.T. Waggoner Building. Built in 1920, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Northland Properties bought the building in 2019. The hotel opened in March 2023, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Among the injured were three workers at Musume, a contemporary Asian restaurant that opened in June in the hotel basement, according to a restaurant spokeswoman, Claire Armstrong. Two were later released from the hospital and one remained in the hospital in stable condition on Tuesday, Ms. Armstrong said.

No construction was taking place at Musume when the blast happened, Ms. Armstrong added, saying that Monday was “just a regular day of operating” before the explosion.

Mayor Mattie Parker of Fort Worth said in an interview on Tuesday that while the city was heartbroken that 21 people were injured, “we are incredibly lucky” that the restaurant was closed and that there were no customers there when the explosion happened. On Mondays Musume closes between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., during the changeover between lunch and dinner service.

“This could have been much worse,” Ms. Parker said.

The Sandman Signature hotel had no history of code violations, Ms. Parker said. There is “no indication of anything criminal now,” she added. “It does appear to be accidental.”

Source link

Leave a comment