Explosion in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, leaves at least 21 injured


By Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) — An explosion in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday left nearly two dozen people injured and large pieces of a building littering the road in the heart of the city’s downtown area.

At least 21 people were injured in the blast at the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, according to a spokesperson for MedStar, which provides emergency medical services and operates ambulances in the area.

There was one person with critical injuries, four were in serious condition and others had minor injuries, according to the spokesperson.

Fire officials believe the blast was caused by “some type of gas explosion” but are still working to verify the cause, said Craig Trojacek, a spokesperson for the Fort Worth Fire Department. He said investigators were working to determine what caused the incident at the hotel – which is near both city hall and the city’s convention center.

Emergency responders had found one person who was originally unaccounted for, Trojacek said. Firefighters also rescued people who were trapped in the basement, he said.

Trojacek said earlier there were reports the explosion may have happened in a restaurant where some construction was underway, but “we’re not 100% sure that that’s where it actually started.”

A secondary search of the hotel was underway as of 6 p.m., he added. A total of 26 rooms had guests in them.

The hotel said in a statement it was working with first responders and hoping to help those who had been injured.

“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 statement reads. “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.”

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A woman at The Ashton Hotel, which is about a block away from the blast, said it sounded like a huge firework went off.

“We heard the noise,” Cheila Sanchez told CNN. “It moved the hotel. I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ Just heard this loud ‘boom!’ I didn’t know exactly what happened.”

Sanchez said she thinks she heard the explosion around 3:20 p.m. local time.

“It sounded like a firework, but it was louder,” Sanchez said. “There was only one boom.”

Three employees of the Musume restaurant in the Sandman hotel were injured in the explosion. The restaurant shared a statement on Facebook explaining the employees are being treated at a hospital and are listed as stable.

“Luckily, Musume was closed during the time of the explosion, so we had no customers dining and limited employees working,” Musume co-founder Josh Babb wrote in the post. He said the restaurant family was devastated by the explosion and they will send updates about the injured employees as they get more information.

An image from CNN affiliate WFAA shows debris in the street outside the hotel building. It appeared sections of the building’s façade had been ripped off in the blast.

There is currently no indication the incident is criminal in nature, a federal law enforcement source told CNN.

Fort Worth Chief Communications Officer Reyne Telles told CNN, “there was a plume of smoke seen higher than the high rises.”

There is debris scattered in the area of city hall, according to Telles.

“We are currently working a Major Incident. Please avoid the downtown area,” the Fort Worth Police Department said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “PIOs are on scene. We will share more details as soon as we can confirm more information.”

Another witness reported seeing people coming out of the hotel with bloody faces and seeing people on gurneys following the explosion, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Witnesses told the paper they had family members in the hotel, and that they were injured.

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Barbara Jacobs, 58, told the newspaper she normally walks past the building on her way home to an apartment building nearby but “something told her not to.”

“When I heard the boom I was in the middle of the street,” she told the paper. “To see it firsthand, oh my God, it was scariest thing I ever seen.”

Across the street from the hotel, Thompson’s Bookstore and Speakeasy was significantly damaged in the blast.

“Everyone in the building at the time is OK, but it will be a while until we understand the full scope of damage,” Clinton Bohn, a spokesperson for AngMar Retail Group, told CNN in a statement.

He added the bookstore has significant damage to the side closest to the hotel and within the speakeasy area, which is underground. The business will be closed until further notice, the business said in a Facebook post.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement said state officials are in contact with Forth Worth authorities and are ready to send additional help if needed.

“The State of Texas is in close contact with Mayor Parker, Sheriff Waybourn, and other local partners and first responders in Fort Worth to assist with emergency response efforts following the tragic explosion at the Sandman Hotel,” the governor said.

“Cecilia and I ask all Texans to pray for those who were injured in the explosion, as well as those bravely responding to keep others safe,” Abbott added.

This story has been updated with additional information..

CNN’s Sarah Dewberry, Amanda Jackson, Josh Campbell and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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