Fort Worth Hotel Explosion
It has been a week since the Fort Worth hotel explosion rocked Fort Worth. The area surrounding the Sandman Signature Hotel, including portions of Throckmorton Street, remains closed to the public.
We know that 21 people were injured, one critically, and four more were seriously injured. We have heard reports of at least one person smelling gas before the explosion and there was a strong smell of gas after the blast. We know that three employees inside the restaurant in the hotel were injured but are in stable condition.
We also know the Fort Worth Fire Department’s Arson Unit, the ATF, the FBI, and technicians with gas company Atmos Energy and the Railroad Commission are among the agencies investigating.
If you or a loved one were injured in this explosion, you have more questions than answers. We are here to help you through the journey of getting the help you need, now and into the future, and the answers you are looking for. Our Fort Worth explosion lawyer has the experience and the investigative skills it takes to make sure that something like this does not happen again, and that those responsible for your injuries are held responsible.
The Aftermath: Emergency Response and Injured Victims
As the echoes of the blast subsided, emergency crews were on the scene in minutes. We watched emergency vehicles travel the wrong way down one-way streets in downtown Fort Worth to get to the scene quickly. The Fort Worth Fire Department, Police Department, and Emergency Medical Services were some of the first to respond with the ATF, FBI, and Railroad Commission arriving later in the day. It is now believed a gas explosion rocked the Sandman Signature Hotel, injuring 21 people. A few were critically injured, with one in a life-threatening state. The blast was so powerful that it blew the front off the hotel and trapped some victims in the basement.
Within the hotel, the Musume restaurant may have been the epicenter of the blast’s impact. Three of its employees were among the injured. Fortunately, the restaurant was not open yet, and the hotel only had 26 of its rooms occupied. The nearby Fort Worth Convention Center was quickly converted into a temporary shelter for the guests, ensuring their well-being and safety.
Investigating the Cause: Gas Leak and Safety Concerns
As the dust settled and the injured were attended, the focus shifted to understanding the cause of the explosion. An explosion occurred, and preliminary investigations by fire officials pointed toward a gas leak as the potential trigger. This gas leak raised alarms about the safety measures in place and the need for stringent checks to prevent such incidents.
Gas leaks are a prevalent factor contributing to gas explosions in commercial establishments. The fire department initiated a thorough investigation, looking for visible signs of damage to gas pipes, fittings, and transmission equipment, as well as unusual sounds.
Identifying Potential Liability
In the case of a gas explosion at a hotel, multiple parties might be held liable:
- Hotel: Hotels are obligated to ensure the safety and well-being of their guests and employees. This includes regular maintenance and safety checks of gas lines and related infrastructure.
- Gas Supply Companies: If the explosion resulted from a defect in the gas supply, the company providing the gas could be liable. We know Atmos was on the scene conducting their own investigation and ensuring service to the building was shut off.
- Maintenance Contractors: If the hotel outsourced its gas line maintenance, the contractor responsible for these services might be liable, especially if negligence or improper maintenance is proven.
- Manufacturers of Gas Appliances: If a faulty gas appliance caused the explosion, the manufacturer of that appliance could be held responsible under product liability laws.
Other Agencies That Might Investigate
Agencies other than the ones already mentioned that might be involved in this investigation include:
- Texas Commission on Fire Protection: This agency might step in to understand the fire-related aspects of the explosion; and
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): If there are employee injuries or fatalities, OSHA will likely investigate workplace safety standards.
Duties Owed by the Hotel
Hotels in Texas, like any other business, owe a duty of care to both their guests and employees. This includes:
- Regular Maintenance and Safety Checks: Ensuring that all gas lines and appliances are in good working condition.
- Adequate Training for Staff: Ensuring staff is trained in safety procedures and emergency responses related to gas leaks or explosions.
- Evacuation Plans: Having clear and well-communicated evacuation plans in case of an emergency.
Premises Liability in Texas
Premises liability in Texas holds property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries that occur on their property due to unsafe conditions. In a hotel gas explosion scenario, if it is proven that the hotel management was aware (or should have been aware) of a gas leak or potential hazard and did nothing to rectify it, they could be held liable under premises liability laws.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Texas
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically two years from the date of the injury. This means that any lawsuit for injuries sustained in a hotel gas explosion must be filed within this timeframe.
Legal Representation for Explosion Victims: Why You Need an Experienced Fort Worth Explosion Lawyer
While the immediate focus in the aftermath of the explosion in Fort Worth was on rescue and recovery, the victims were left grappling with the repercussions. In the ensuing chaos, it becomes vital for victims to grasp their rights and pursue legal representation. Our experienced Fort Worth lawyer can help navigate the intricate legal maze, establish liability, and construct a robust case for the victims.
Compensation for Medical Expenses, Lost Wages, and Pain and Suffering
After such incidents, the primary focus of the legal battle is to secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Lawyers play a critical role in this, advocating for the victim’s rights, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and pursuing legal claims for fair compensation.
The determination of lost wages is an important part of this process. It involves calculating a weekly rate based on the annual pay and then multiplying it by the number of weeks missed. In some cases, an average of an individual’s annual earnings before the injury is utilized for the calculation of lost earnings.
Holding Negligent Parties Accountable
Post-explosion, the focus isn’t solely on securing compensation for victims but also entails holding those responsible, accountable for their actions. Holding negligent parties accountable signifies pursuing legal measures to ensure their responsibility for the damages and injuries resulting from the explosion.
The process to hold negligent parties accountable for explosions involves initiating a negligence lawsuit based on personal injury, wherein the injured party is required to establish that the defendant acted negligently. In such cases, individuals, companies, or other entities found responsible for negligence are held accountable for their actions.
Documenting Injuries and Property Damage
Besides seeking prompt medical attention, victims should also concentrate on:
- Recording their injuries and property damage
- Capturing photographs of the injuries
- Promptly seeking medical attention
- Preserving any available evidence
Explosions can lead to extensive property damage, such as cracks in plaster, drywall, and basement damage to homes, businesses, and other structures. Victims should take comprehensive photographs and videos of the damage from multiple angles and write detailed descriptions of the damage, specifying affected items, the extent and timing of the damage, and the event leading to the damage.
Support for Affected Families: Resources and Assistance
Amidst such adversity, the community unites to offer support to the impacted families. Resources and assistance are available for those affected, including a family reunification area and community support programs.
Furthermore, there are federal and state assistance programs available for victims of explosions. These programs include FEMA collaborating with the SBA to offer low-interest disaster loans and the Red Cross providing financial aid for homes that have been severely damaged or destroyed.
The tragic explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel in downtown Fort Worth shook the community to its core. However, in its aftermath, the resilience of the community and the relentless work of first responders have shone through. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of stringent safety measures and the need for legal representation in the aftermath of such tragic incidents. While the victims continue their path to recovery, it is imperative to hold those responsible accountable and ensure such a calamity is avoided in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What caused the explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel?
The investigation is ongoing. The explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel was caused by a gas leak, according to preliminary investigations.
How many people were injured in the explosion?
The explosion resulted in 21 injuries, with one person critically injured.
What should victims do in the aftermath of such an explosion?
After an explosion, victims should prioritize seeking medical attention, documenting injuries and property damage, and contacting a lawyer for assistance with the aftermath. Give us a call at (817) 203-2220. We are here to help.