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Nashville hotel gas explosion causes $750,000 damage

21 June 2012

A gas explosion on the evening of June 19 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, caused the evacuation of over 5,000 guests and damages estimated at $750,000 by owners Gaylord Entertainment.

The atrium of the Gaylord Opryland Resort was damaged in the incident
The atrium of the Gaylord Opryland Resort was damaged in the incident

"First and foremost, what is important is that no one was hurt as a result of this incident," said Colin V. Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gaylord Entertainment in a statement.

Captain Ken Walburn of the Nashville Fire Department said the explosion occurred at around 8:15 p.m. in the convention center portion of the hotel, away from guest rooms.

He said it appeared that a gas leak was ignited inside a mechanical room on the first floor, causing significant damage to an escalator, walls and ceiling. He said the blast was so strong it damaged ceiling tiles on the third floor of the convention center.

Walburn said the cause of the fire was investigated by the state bomb and arson squad, along with FBI and the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but suspicious activity had been ruled out.

The hotel sits next to the Grand Ole Opry House, the heart of Nashville’s country music scene. Hundreds of sheriffs from around the country were staying at the convention center for the 2012 National Sheriffs Association.

According to the Tennessean, guests were allowed back at 3am the following morning and the hotel’s convention programme will continue as planned.

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