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‘Please hurry': 911 calls from Texas hotel explosion released

“Yo there’s a big explosion here,” one caller said when reporting the blast at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Fort Worth


An aerial view of West 8th and Throckmorton streets bordering the Sandman Signature Hotel on Jan. 10, 2024, two days after the explosion in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. (Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS

By Emily Brindley
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas — A woman called 911 immediately after the explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.

“The Sandman Hotel, we’re stuck in an elevator, filled with smoke,” the woman tells the dispatcher. Panic seeps into her voice.

“Please hurry,” she pleads.

As the dispatcher asks where the woman, and the people she’s with, are located, she tells someone with her to cover their face.

“Put your shirt over your nose to filter it, honey,” she says.

The elevator was heading to the ninth floor, the caller says. And then, the elevator doors appear to open, and the woman tells someone to go to the stairs. The caller tells the dispatcher that they’re out of the elevator.

“Well, have a good day,” the dispatcher says.

“Yeah, uh-huh,” the woman replies, and the call ends.

Scot and Angela Cockroft were among the first to call 911, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram previously reported, after a massive explosion at the hotel building on the afternoon of Jan. 8. The couple, from Prosper, Texas, was headed back up to their hotel room when there was a loud boom and the elevator stalled. They forced their way out of the elevator, the Star-Telegram previously reported, and took the emergency stairwell out of the building. They suffered from lung and throat irritation, they told the newspaper, but were not injured.

Their call was one of more than 10 that afternoon, according to 911 audio released to the Star-Telegram under a public records request.

Besides the elevator call, the call audio was mostly from people who saw or heard the explosion from a slight distance. But for many, there was still panic in their voices.

“There’s a lot of smoke,” one caller told dispatch.

“It shook everything,” another said.

“It exploded. The Sandman hotel exploded.”

“Yo there’s a big explosion here at the Sandman hotel,” one caller said. “Something exploded, at Musume restaurant, I don’t know.”

The dispatchers at first sounded confused, trying to understand if callers meant that there had been a literal explosion. But then there were several calls about the same incident — describing a “big, big loud bang” that “shook everything” and left debris “covering the street” — and at one point a dispatcher picked up a call and asked if the person on the other end was calling about the explosion.

That caller didn’t know what had happened. “It just blew up. I don’t know what caused it or anything.”

One caller was from a private alarm company, calling because at least 10 floors of alarms were going off in the Sandman Signature Hotel building.

“It looks like we’re getting a dozen of them, I don’t know if we’re doing testing or what, but all the floors are going off right now,” the caller said.

It’s still unclear what exactly caused the explosion. The massive blast, which is believed to have originated in the basement floor of the Sandman hotel, where the restaurant Musume is located, injured 21 people and scattered debris and building pieces into the downtown streets.

Officials have indicated that natural gas was involved in the explosion. Natural gas provider Atmos has said that its gas lines did not have any faults or leaks in them. An official cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

©2024 Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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