Hotel explosion in Fort Worth leaves 21 injured

Natural gas leak found to be the cause at Northland Properties’ Sandman Signature hotel

Sandman Signature Hotel Explosion Injures 21 in Downtown Fort Worth
Sandman Signature hotel at 810 Houston Street (Photos via Fort Worth Fire Department/X)

An explosion at the Sandman Signature hotel in downtown Fort Worth injured 21 people Monday, KDFW first reported

The blast happened at about 3 p.m. in Musume, a sushi restaurant at the hotel, at 810 Houston Street, and three restaurant employees were injured. The Fort Worth Fire Department rescued injured people who were trapped in the basement, Reuters reported. The restaurant was closed at the time. One person was critically injured, and four others were seriously injured.

A natural gas leak caused the explosion, which left a shattered storefront and debris strewn over the street, according to the ATF and the Fort Worth Fire Department, KXAS reported. Atmos Energy shut off gas lines in the area, which is near Sundance Square, in the heart of Fort Worth’s tourism district. No cost estimates of the damage were available.

Guests were occupying only 26 rooms of the 245-key hotel because construction was going on in the building at the time, a Fort Worth Fire Department spokesperson said. 

Northland Properties bought the building in 2018 and announced plans for the Sandman Signature hotel the following year. 

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The hotel opened last April. It occupies the 20-story W.T. Waggoner Building, which was built in 1920.

The building was assessed at $34 million last year by the Tarrant Appraisal District. That’s an 85 percent increase over its 2019 valuation of $17 million

Family-owned Northland’s CEO is Tom Gagliardi, owner of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League. Vancouver-based Northland specializes in hotel and resort developments.

Gagliardi recently launched a subsidiary, Northland Living, to develop multifamily projects, including two in the Austin area: a condo tower in downtown and a 40-acre mixed-use development near the suburban arena that is home to the Texas Stars, an American Hockey League team owned by the Dallas Stars.

Atmos Energy replaced nearly 100 miles of gas lines in Dallas after a 12-year-old, Michellita Rogers, was killed in a gas explosion, while getting ready for a cheerleading competition, at her North Dallas home in 2018. Two other houses in the area had exploded because of gas leaks in the two days before Rogers’ death, and after she died, Atmos evacuated homes while it replaced pipes.

The utility settled a lawsuit, brought by the sixth-grader’s family, for an undisclosed amount in 2019.

—Rachel Stone

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