An explosion occurred on Monday afternoon in downtown Fort Worth, causing significant damage to a high-rise hotel. The authorities suspect that a natural gas leak may have been the cause. The incident took place at the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Hotel on Houston Street at approximately 3:45 p.m.
The ATF believes that the explosion was indeed caused by natural gas, but the Fort Worth Fire Department is still investigating the exact cause. The downtown area has been affected by a strong smell of gas, which could be related to the explosion or its aftermath. MedStar Ambulance reported a total of 11 injuries, with one critical, two serious, and the rest minor.
Nine individuals have been hospitalized. Firefighters are currently conducting search and rescue operations inside the building to locate any potential survivors. Once the search is complete, the stability of the structure will be assessed. Unfortunately, one person is still unaccounted for.
Witnesses observed glass and debris from the first two floors of the building along 8th Street and in a nearby parking lot. Nearby individuals heard the explosion and saw white smoke and debris emerging from the hotel. The W.T. Waggoner Building, a 20-story tower constructed over a century ago, was the site of the explosion. The police have cordoned off several blocks around the hotel and are advising people to avoid the downtown area.
The Tarrant County Judge has ordered the closure of downtown county buildings for the day, except for jails and law enforcement facilities. Atmos Energy is collaborating with the fire department to shut off the gas supply.
The hotel has an interesting history, having housed the National Bank of Commerce until 1957 and later serving as the headquarters for XTO Energy until 2018. In 2019, it was renovated and transformed into the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, which is now owned by Northland Properties.
Release ID: 856264