Is Gas Leak Cause of Fort Worth Hotel Explosion?

Authorities are still investigating the cause of a Fort Worth Hotel Explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel with at least 21 hurt.

By Rebecca Martin

Monday afternoon, an explosion in the basement of the Sandman Signature Hotel in downtown Fort Worth blew out windows on the first and second floors, injuring 21 people. The basement included a restaurant which is believed to be the source of the explosion. Debris was scattered hundreds of feet from the front and rear of the building.

The Sandman Signature Hotel is located in the W.T. Waggoner building which was constructed in 1920 as a nod to the burgeoning oil industry and Texas’s impact on the national economy. The 20-story building was recently converted to a 245-room hotel by Dallas Stars owner, Tom Gagliardi’s hotel brand. Gagliardi’s family business is Northland Properties, a Canadian privately owned hospitality business. the Sandman Signature Hotel is the second North Texas location opened by Northland Properties. The Chicago-style brick and stone building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The explosion occurred at shortly after 3:30 PM with 21 people subsequently being treated on the scene by Medstar and Fire Dept. personnel and some of those transported to the hospital. One person was reported to be critically injured and four people seriously injured. Nineteen people were treated at the scene with minor injuries.  Three of the people injured worked at the Asian Fusion restaurant, Musume, in the basement. The restaurant was closed at the time of the explosion.

Several people had to be extracted from the basement by first responders. The building is being inspected to determine structural integrity and safety.

The hotel was in operation at the time of the explosion with 26 rooms registered as occupied. Whether there was a smell of gas is still being investigated. See Fox News:

Hotel occupants on upper floors had to leap to safety after the explosion as part of the stairway leading out was missing. A fire broke out after the explosion but was contained by first responders. One person was trapped and found during a second sweep of the building.

The Fort Worth Fire Department is heading the investigation into the explosion which is thought to have been caused by a natural gas leak. The hotel was described as still being under renovation construction, having been purchased in 2018 and opened to the public in early 2023. The restaurant in the basement was still under construction.

Parts of the façade were blown into the street. The immediate neighborhood was evacuated as a safety concern as first responders noted the smell of gas in the area surrounding the hotel. Atmos Energy was also on the scene to assess the scene and shut down gas lines to neighboring buildings and released a statement that gas had been isolated to the affected area.

Witnesses in the immediate area of the hotel described the sound of the explosion as an extremely loud crack and boom. It was described as “very loud and very violent”. Fort Worth residents were advised to avoid the area.

The Brain Injury Law Group has significant experience with gas leaks at hotels and mass casualty events from HVAC related equipment. See our results here.

We are currently involved in three other hotel mass casualty events and two mass school poisoning cases.

For remarkable pictures of the hotel and the aftermath of the explosion, see the Fort Worth Telegram story:


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