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Possible gas explosion at downtown Fort Worth hotel injures 21: Officials

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(FORT WORTH, Texas) — An explosion at a downtown Fort Worth, Texas, hotel possibly caused by a gas leak injured 21 people, sent heavy debris across a block and forced nearby employees to evacuate Monday afternoon.

Fort Worth Fire Department officials said one person is in critical condition following the explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel, which occurred around 3:30 p.m. local time.

Fire department officials said a gas leak was part of the incident, but they couldn’t immediately determine if it caused the explosion.

“We do know that there was some construction that was being done down at the restaurant. We’re not 100% sure that that’s where it actually started at this point in time,” Forth Worth Fire Department spokesman Craig Trojacek told reporters at a news conference.

It was not known how many of the injured were guests at the hotel or pedestrians. Fourteen people were transported to area hospitals, according to officials.

One person who was initially unaccounted for was found during a sweep by firefighters, according to officials

Trojacek said that firefighters rescued people who were inside the hotel’s basement.

Shortly after the explosion, firefighters were seen going through debris from the incident spread throughout the street, including window pieces and parts of the exterior.

The investigation into the cause is ongoing.

“We’ll talk about the structural integrity … after that, and we’re just trying to make sure that when we walk out of that building, we can definitively say that we’ve got everybody removed from that structure,” Trojacek said.

The Sandman Signature Fort Worth Hotel communications team confirmed in a statement that the hotel was “impacted by an explosion.”

“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,” the company’s statement read. “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.”

The hotel, located near the Fort Worth Convention Center, opened last May following an extensive reconversion of the Waggoner Building, a Fort Worth historical building.

The building was originally built in 1920, and “many of the original features” were retained during the conversion, according to the hotel’s website.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that he was monitoring the situation and ready to deploy additional resources if needed.

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