Fourteen workers were injured Monday when a gas explosion ripped through the Hilton San Diego Bay Front hotel which is under construction behind the San Diego Convention Center.

A mechanical failure or gas likely triggered an explosion that rocked a waterfront hotel under construction, damaging four floors and injuring 14 workers, five critically, a fire official said.

The blast occurred around 2 p.m. Monday, ripping off part of the Hilton hotel’s facade and sending debris flying. More than 400 construction workers were at the site at the time, Mayor Jerry Sanders said.

Bruce Ragland, who runs an entry gate at the Petco Park baseball stadium about 200 yards from the hotel, said he was looking right at the building when the explosion blew through two sides and set off a shockwave.

“It was just like watching a Bruce Willis movie, like you know, `Die Hard,'” Ragland said.

The explosion came as a blow to those hoping to get a hotel room for the 2009 con:

The 30-story Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel was scheduled to open in December, according to Hilton’s Web site. It will have 1,190 rooms and more than 165,000 square feet of meeting space. Karima Zaki, Hilton Hotels Corp.’s vice president for new development for the San Diego hotel, said she didn’t know if the hotel would open on schedule.

The cause of the blast still isn’t known, but it is with grave concern thatThe Beat must point the finger at the only likely suspect: TERRORISTS. What better way to destroy America’s will and love of freedom than attacking their only hope of getting a close hotel room for next year’s show? The hotel, long under construction, has been a shining dream of convention housing ever since it was announced, several years ago. We will not let the terrorists dim that dream, however, and will continue to hit refresh on our browser until we get a nice bayview room.
In all seriousness, best wishes for the workers who were severely burned in the accident.


  1. There is some comic-related irony here. The damage visible in the first photo resembles one of the Batman movie poster mockups we saw recently. Sorry for the injured workers….

  2. Oddly enough, I helped find a construction engineering expert for some of the local newscast interviews (I work in PR for a local university) and he said that the hotel may still be able to open on schedule.

    This is because the building should have been able to withstand a strong earthquake, so there shouldn’t be any major damage, and, since it has largely cement construction, the construction company should be able to repair the damaged area as it continues the rest of the work on the hotel. So, maybe there’s some hope for more rooms for the 2009 con…