Kentucky Hotel Damaged by Gas Explosion Caused by Driver

September 9, 2014

Authorities say a car hit a gas meter, setting off an explosion that caused part of a Lexington hotel to collapse.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that although the Fairfield Inn in Beaumont Centre was severely damaged Sunday night, there were no serious injuries. Parts of three floors were heavily damaged.

The newspaper said a driver in the parking lot apparently lurched forward, hitting a gas meter. Authorities arrived to find the gas leaking. Battalion Chief Joe Best said the explosion came about 10 minutes later. Several cars were damaged and were underneath the rubble.

The hotel’s assistant general manager, Debbie Tyler, said she raced through halls knocking on doors to get guests out after a guest told the front desk that a car had hit the building and an alarm went off.

“I had to pull some people out of the room,” she said. “People were in the shower.

“I feel very lucky that everyone got out. We’re blessed; we’re truly blessed.”

After the explosion, two firefighters were taken to a hospital as a precaution and an elderly man reported suffering minor injuries.

“We are just lucky to be alive,” said Fairfield Inn guest Bob Hartmann of Chesterton, Indiana.

Hartmann, who was in town with his wife, had been out to dinner with their daughter when the explosion occurred. When the returned, they stood watching the smoldering area where their room had been. He said everything they left in the hotel room was lost.

Gas and electricity to the building were cut off, and all the guests were moved to other hotels.

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