Skip to comments.Explosion damages San Diego building site; 14 hurt ( 5 critically )
Posted on 05/19/2008 10:34:54 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
SAN DIEGO (AP) An explosion rocked a hotel under construction Monday, ripping off part of the building's facade, sending debris flying and injuring 14 workers, five critically, authorities said.
Some of the workers were burned and others were injured by debris, fire department spokesman Maurice Luque said. The building did not burn after the explosion, which Luque said appeared to be accidental.
Matt McBride, general manager of the Tin Fish bar about 150 yards away, said he was setting up the outdoor patio bar when the blast occurred. He said he and other workers froze as they saw smoke come out of the building but no flames.
"It looked like a bomb," McBride said. "It shook the whole building like a bomb. The reverb was what scared us. Everybody was saying bomb, bomb, bomb, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist."
San Diego Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Perry Peake said the explosion occurred in an area of the building containing gas, electric and other utilities and that it appeared to have been caused by a mechanical failure or gas.
"We want to rule out all possibilities before making an official report, but we're pretty confident that's how it's going to come out," he said.
The Hilton hotel near the San Diego Convention Center showed serious damage and debris littered a driveway beneath one corner of the structure. Facade material dangled from the structure, drapes dangled out windows and a large equipment room with tanks and pipes was left exposed.
The blast damaged floors four through seven, Mayor Jerry Sanders said.
The site was surrounded by firefighters and utility crews, and a truck with the markings of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived.
Firefighters searched the building to determine if there were any other victims. More than 400 construction workers were at the site at the time, Sanders said.
Three of the five workers in critical condition were in a hospital burn unit, Luque said. Nine others had injuries ranging from serious to minor, authorities said.
UCSD Medical Center was treating 10 injured, said Dr. Irving Jacoby, attending emergency room physician.
"They talked about a bright light and an intense heat," said Dr. Bruce Potenza of the hospital's burn unit.
The Padres baseball team, which plays at Petco Park across from the convention center, planned to host the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night as scheduled, said Sandy Alderson, the team's chief executive officer.
Bruce Ragland, who runs an entry gate at the stadium, said he was looking right at the building when the explosion blew through two sides and there was a strong shock wave.
"It was just like watching a Bruce Willis movie, like you know, `Die Hard,'" Ragland said.
The 30-story Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel was scheduled to open in December, according to Hilton's Web site. It will have 1,190 rooms and more than 165,000 square feet of meeting space.
Karima Zaki, Hilton Hotels Corp.'s vice president for new development for the San Diego hotel, said she didn't know if the hotel would open on schedule. She said Hilton hadn't taken possession of the hotel from the builder, Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
A woman who answered the phone at Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps' Southern California regional headquarters referred questions to executives at the site, who were not immediately available. Hensel Phelps officials did not immediately respond to questions sent by e-mail.
Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS Rachel Zaki's job description to Hilton Hotels Corp.'s vice president for new development for the San Diego hotel.)
I think this is an update.
This is all a truther needs to sell thousands of Ebooks.
From Post #19....
Theyre saying now that theyre quite sure its tied to a gas related leak in a room that had a lot of equipment tied to the construction.
(This is all thats on our local stations at the moment)
Just saw 11pm local news,
The bldg. is structurally sound. They said
can repair in tme for original opening or slight delay.
There were over 400 construction workers on site when this happened. The injured are in two different hospital - medical centers around 8 to 12 blocks from me.
3 are in Medicaly induced comas due to pain from burns
Around 14 injured in all.
there must be a ted kaczynski
attacking new construction in san diego.
remember the large apartment building that was bombed about 5 years ago?
the blast was so powerful that it destroyed the undergound concrete reinforced parking structure.
hope they check out those in the 400 in that area real good and make sure an ELF didn’t slip thru, damn lucky injured number isn’t much higher..
Geez...OT...I was just looking at all the Kennedy threads ...I think the Mods have had to lock every one of them.
It looks as though RUCKUS is busy training more people for the ReCreate ‘68 movement at the Democrat convention.
LOL.. I feel for the MOds, I stopped posting Kennedy threads, FR has been under attack by rabid folk before but this has been pretty bad...
can’t wait until GooP convention time.. probably get suspended myself. ;-)
oh and it was natural gas it seems
San Diego hotel construction blast caused by gas leak
ALLISON HOFFMAN, Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - Leaking natural gas caused an explosion that injured 14 construction workers and damaged four floors of an unfinished 30-story hotel, authorities said Tuesday.
The blast at the bayside Hilton Monday afternoon was an apparent accident, caused by a gas leak in a fifth-floor utility room, said San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque. Investigators had not determined what ignited the gas.
And check it out very carefully!