A blast has occurred at the W.T. Waggoner Building, recently transformed into the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Hotel. Visible damage to the building’s facade along 8th Street suggests a natural gas explosion, though confirmation is pending. Authorities confirm 21 injuries, with evacuations in a two-block radius.
The Fort Worth Fire Department, leading the investigation, points to ongoing construction and a likely gas leak as the potential causes. ATF agents on-site support this hypothesis. The smell of gas lingers in the evacuated downtown area, requiring further examination.
Late Monday, it was revealed that 26 hotel rooms were occupied during the explosion, with the number of injuries increasing from 11 to 21. The missing person was located, and no fatalities have been reported. Search and rescue efforts continue through the night, ensuring everyone is accounted for.
Musume, the hotel’s restaurant, expressed devastation over the explosion, confirming no customers present during the incident. Three employees sustained injuries but are in stable condition. The explosion damaged two floors of the building, affecting the lower floors and the surrounding area.
Eyewitness accounts, including a high-rise condo resident and a nearby coffee shop worker, describe the shockwave and chaos that ensued. Numerous individuals managed to evacuate, with reports of injuries, shattered glass, and plumes of smoke.
Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare directed downtown county buildings to close, excluding jails and law enforcement. Governor Greg Abbott stands ready to deploy additional resources for public safety. Atmos Energy is working to shut off gas, and the Texas Railroad Commission is sending an inspector to assess the natural gas pipeline.
The W.T. Waggoner Building, a historic structure, underwent restoration in 1985 and was repurposed into the Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel in 2019. The hotel’s CEO, Tom Gaglardi, assures collaboration with authorities to determine the incident’s origin and support those affected.
Fire officials confirm ongoing construction at the hotel, leaving the exact role in the explosion undetermined.