At least 11 people were injured and one person was missing after an apparent explosion that caused substantial damage to a hotel in downtown Fort Worth on Monday afternoon, the police said.
One person was in critical condition and two were in serious condition, Craig Trojacek, a spokesman for the Fort Worth Fire Department, said at a news conference. Eight others had minor injuries, he added.
It was unclear what caused the apparent explosion at the Sandman Signature hotel. Mr. Trojacek said that there was “a smell of gas in the area,” but that it was unclear whether gas played a role.
Video footage and images from the scene showed substantial damage to to the ground floor of the hotel and debris littered across the street.
A spokeswoman for Atmos Energy, which provides natural gas to North Texas, said that the gas company was looking into the apparent explosion.
“We were getting reports that it had started in the restaurant,” Mr. Trojacek said, adding that a restaurant in the hotel was under construction. “We’re not 100 percent sure that that’s where it actually started at this point.”
The Fort Worth Fire Department said that a reunification area for those looking for loved ones had been set up in a parking lot a few blocks from the hotel.
Tim O’Hare, the Tarrant County judge, said on social media that he had directed county buildings in downtown Fort Worth to close for the day out of “an abundance of caution.”
The hotel occupies one of Fort Worth’s most historically significant buildings. Built in 1920, the 20-story W.T. Waggoner Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The register describes it as “physical manifestation of the crucial role played by Fort Worth in the national oil boom.”
The building housed the offices of several oil exploration firms and a bank over the years, according to the National Register. Its current owner, Northland Properties, purchased the building in 2019. The 245-room Sandman Hotel opened in March 2023, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
This is a developing story.
Orlando Mayorquin contributed reporting.