5,000 evacuated from Opryland Hotel following explosion

10:05 AM, Jun 20, 2012   |    comments
About 5,000 people were evacuated from the Gaylord Opryland Resourt after an explosion Tuesday night. (The Tennessean)
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NASHVILLE - About 5,000 guests at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center were evacuated after an explosion on the first floor in the Delta area of the resort late Tuesday, said Nashville Fire Department spokesman Ricky Taylor.

As of 10:25 p.m., guests were still not allowed inside the complex. The hotel was reportedly sold out for the evening, Taylor said.

"This explosion was strong enough that it destroyed one of the escalators and blew upward through the first floor into the second floor," Taylor said. "An area the size of a football field was affected. This is all internal. Nothing is visible from the outside of the building."

Taylor said officials were still trying to figure out what caused the blast, which happened near a mechanical room.

"It could have been a malfunction that triggered that blast," he said. "We're still waiting to hear from our investigators on that."

There were no life threatening injuries associated with the explosion. Taylor said one woman had to be transported to a local hospital after she twisted her ankle.

Officials with Metro Police, Nashville Fire, the FBI, Metro Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene.

There is no timeline on when guests could be allowed back inside the hotel. Taylor said structural engineers were assessing the damages and would make that decision.

(The Tennessean)

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