SEATTLE — An explosion demolished part of a Motel 6 in Bremerton, Washington, on Tuesday night — critically injuring a gas company worker just minutes after the acting hotel manager had evacuated the building due to a leak.
Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan told The Associated Press there were no reports of anyone trapped in the rubble, but fire officials planned to go through carefully to make sure.
“There are no reports that anyone was inside, but we can’t say with certainty that everyone was evacuated,” Strachan said.
Manager Tonya Hinds said in a telephone interview that a passerby had come into her office to say a gas line was leaking at the back of the building. Hinds — a former volunteer firefighter — said she went outside and saw that the leaking line was a big one “with a lot of gas.”
“I pulled the alarm and started corralling people away from the building,” Hinds said. “I wanted to make sure all my guests were out.”
The alarm came in just before 8 p.m., and the fire department and two Cascade Gas employees responded. One of the gas company workers was critically injured in the explosion and was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Strachan said.
The motel had about 65 guests in 42 occupied rooms, and the blast destroyed about one-quarter of the building, Hinds said. She said that one guest reported having seen someone jump out a window of the three-story establishment and land on or near the gas line just before the leak.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter