Gas explosion destroys section of Washington state hotel, injures one

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 19, 2015 3:10 AM

(Reuters) - A gas explosion partially leveled a suburban Washington state motel late Tuesday and left one person critically injured, police said.

The Motel 6 in Bremerton, on the Kitsap Peninsula near Seattle, had been evacuated due to a gas leak about 30 minutes before the blast, police said.

The force of the explosion blew back firefighters 20 feet, Bremerton police said.

A gas company employee on scene trying to fix the leak was badly burned and transported to a local hospital.

There were no other immediate reports of injuries.

Firefighters were combing through the wreckage checking to ensure everyone was evacuated, police said on Twitter.

Images and video taken by Seattle local media show a fire behind the motel, with a section of the building demolished.

Motel manager Tonya Hinds told the Kitsap Sun newspaper that a passerby had noticed the leaking gas line. She quickly moved to evacuate guests and staff.

Hinds said the hotel had 65 guests in 42 rooms.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Chopra)