Employees Injured in Hotel Explosion

25 Jan, 2024 Liz Carey

                               

Fort Worth, TX (WorkersCompensation.com) – Three employees were among the more than 20 people injured Monday when a hotel exploded in Fort Worth.

Officials said the explosion at the historic Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel rocked Fort Worth about 3:30 p.m., resulting in part of the building collapsing into the basement, and leaving debris scattered along Houston Street. Jim Davis, the city’s fire chief, said the blast injured 21 people, and that natural gas is believed to be involved.

Three of those injured were employees at Musume, an Asian restaurant located inside the hotel. Josh Babb, one of the restaurant’s founders said on Instagram that the restaurant was closed at the time and that no customers were inside.

“All of us at Musume are devastated,” he said on social media. All of the employees received medical treatment and were in stable condition, he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the other injured people were employees. One of those injured suffered burns, while others suffered concussions, strains and lacerations from debris, Davis said. The person suffering burns was in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, he said on Tuesday night.

Davis said the cause of the blast is still being determined.

“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.”

The hotel and the area immediately surrounding it was closed on Tuesday as investigators continue looking into what happened.

“This is considered the actual immediate hot zone,” Jimmy Pollozani with the Fort Worth Police Department said. “We’re asking the community to stay away from this area.”

Pollozani said rescue workers searched through the rubble on Monday night and into Tuesday, and cadaver dogs were brought in to search for bodies. Firefighters were working Tuesday to remove the wreckage from the building for analysis. Officials said they are working with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to find the cause of the blast.

Early indications pointed to the blast originating in a restaurant under construction, officials said. However, officials said there was no indication the blast was intentional or criminal in nature.

The explosion blew out the outer side of one of the hotel rooms onto the sidewalk near the street. Several rooms lost exterior walls revealing office chairs, tables and gym equipment in plain view. The blast also sent smoke out the century-old building and the surrounding downtown area.

Witnesses told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that people came running out of the hotel with bloody faces. While officials said the hotel was open at the time, there was also some reconstruction happening, and only 26 rooms were occupied at the time. The hotel said it was working with first responders to assist those who had been in the blast.

“Emergency responders are onsite and we are working closely with the authorities to understand the origin of the event and the extent of the harm caused,” a statement from the hotel said. “The safety and well-being of our team members and guests is our priority. We are working with those who have been injured to fully support them at this time.”

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said the blast was devastating for the city .

“It’s a beautiful building. It was just recently renovated and opened, and so we’ll work with the ownership of that building as quickly as possible,” Parker said Tuesday. “Our hearts and prayers are really with the victims at area hospitals.”

Parker said the city was “incredibly lucky” that more people weren’t injured. Musume is closed on Mondays between 2 and 5, and there were no customers in the restaurant when the explosion occurred.

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

Parker said at a news conference the hotel had no history of code violations.

At Fort Worth City Hall, just blocks away, staff said they heard the blast and experienced what felt like an earthquake, Parker said.

Thompson’s Bookstore and Speakeasy across the street was damaged, but no employees were injured, the store said in a Facebook post. The store will remain closed until

“The safety and well-being of our customers and staff are our top priorities, and we appreciate your understanding during this challenging time,” the store said.


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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