Gas Explosion at Fort Worth’s Sandman Hotel Leaves 21 Injured

An explosion at the Sandman Hotel rocked downtown Fort Worth on Monday afternoon, leaving 21 people injured.

At about 3:32 p.m. on January 8, the Fort Worth Fire Department was alerted to what was soon identified as a gas explosion at the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Hotel on the 800 block of Houston Street.

The force of the blast blew out at least the first 2 floors of the historic 20-story W.T. Waggoner building where the Sandman Hotel is located, sending debris and parts of the building's facade scattered along 8th Street and a nearby parking lot.

Residents and workers experienced the explosion’s impact firsthand. A man working in a nearby coffee shop compared the blast to a clap of thunder, while a valet worker narrowly missed the explosion, but witnessed a pedestrian get caught up in it.

One particularly harrowing account came from a man who was inside the hotel at the time. He recalled noticing a smell of natural gas before the second floor of the hotel was suddenly engulfed in dust and smoke. He and others started to flee as quickly as they could, only to find that most of the stairwell was missing. They jumped five to six feet down and made their way out of the building.

The Fort Worth Fire Department and other emergency services responded, working on search and rescue operations. Their immediate focus was on locating survivors who may have been trapped in the building, as the hotel owner reported that one individual was unaccounted for. The stability of the historic building was also a major concern and will be assessed after rescue efforts are complete.

According to MedStar, one person was critically injured, and four others were seriously hurt. Nine victims were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The person who was initially unaccounted for was eventually located.

In the aftermath, a two-block area around the scene has been evacuated and the Fort Worth Police established a Family Reunification Area at Sundance Square to assist families in locating their loved ones. Additionally, all Tarrant County offices in the downtown area were closed as a precaution.

Atmos Energy is working with the fire department to shut off the gas supply, and the Texas Railroad Commission is also involved in the investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) suspects that a natural gas leak might be the culprit behind this catastrophe, though its exact cause is still under investigation.

The explosion at the Sandman Hotel is a stark reminder of the importance of gas safety and the devastating impact such accidents can have. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and everyone affected. We will continue to follow the details of this event as they emerge.

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