Blast at Historic Texas Hotel Injures 21, Scatters Debris

Fort Worth investigators suspect a natural gas leak was the cause
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2024 6:05 PM CST
Explosion at Fort Worth Hotel Injures 11, Scatters Debris
First responders work the scene after an explosion at the Sandman Signature hotel on Monday in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Cameron Arnold via AP)

An explosion at a historic Texas hotel on Monday blew out windows, littered downtown streets with large piles of debris from the building, and injured 21 people, including one person who is in critical condition, authorities said. Investigators believe the Fort Worth blast was caused by natural gas, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesperson Sara Abel, who was briefed by local police. Two people were in serious condition, and the rest had minor injuries, authorities said at a news conference, per the AP.

The Sandman Signature hotel is in a busy area of downtown about one block from the Fort Worth Convention Center. Footage from news helicopters showed firefighters picking their way through the piles of drywall, shattered glass, and mangled metal that coated the street outside the hotel. Authorities urged people to avoid the area. "There is a smell of gas in the area, and there are windows and things that were blown outside of the structure," said Craig Trojacek, a spokesman for the Fort Worth Fire Department. Video posted to social media showed a man sitting on a streetcorner across from the explosion site and holding a woman at his chest. The man appeared to have blood on his forehead, and a medical technician knelt in front of him to tend to his wounds.

A gray haze covered normally busy streets of downtown as firefighters walked through layers of debris. Remnants of the building lay scattered across the street and over parked vehicles, the AP reports, and gaping holes could be seen on the ground. According to the hotel website, the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel has 245 rooms and was built in 1920 as the Waggoner Building, named after cattle rancher and oilman William Thomas Waggoner. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

(More Fort Worth stories.)

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