Explosion at NH Hotel Injures 2 Firefighters, 8 Guests

The explosion happened early Tuesday at the Element Hotel in Lebanon

An explosion at a hotel in New Hampshire early Tuesday morning sent two firefighters and eight guests to the hospital, officials said.

None of the injuries suffered were life-threatening.

The New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office says the explosion happened around 5:15 a.m. at the Element Hotel, just after crews responding to a fire alarm entered the building.

When fire crews arrived at the hotel, they noted a light odor of smoke and water on the first floor. The explosion occurred as they tried to force their way into the electrical room of the building, the Lebanon Fire Department said in a statement.

The duty captain and a firefighter were both injured, but managed to leave the building.

The firefighter, Todd Hamilton, suffered a broken left arm that will require surgery, head injuries and broken ribs, according to Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos. He was brought to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment.

Captain Jeffrey Egner was brought to the same center for a head injury and has since been released.

Three hotel guests were rescued through first floor windows by members of the Lebanon fire Department. A total of eight guests received treatment at DHMC for minor injuries from trips and falls.

Crews discovered a fire in a fifth floor utility room, which they quickly extinguished, authorities said. A third alarm was called to help search the 129 rooms in the hotel.

All 80 guests and three staff members in the hotel at the time have been accounted for, the Lebanon Fire Department said.

Officials are still investigating the cause, but they do not believe it was criminal in nature.

The hotel is part of the Marriott chain and suffered significant damage. It will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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