Leak in heat exchanger blamed for hotel blast

6:33 PM, Jul 3, 2012   |    comments
Debbie Ostrander of Elk Grove, Calif., checks her phone as she and others wait to get back into the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center after a mechanical explosion forced the evacuation of the hotel Tuesday night. / GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Nashville fire officials say an explosion at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center was caused by a leak in a heat exchanger allowing natural gas to mix with steam.

According to The Tennessean, the Nashville Fire Department has ruled the June 19 blast accidental. No one was hurt, though 5,000 guests were forced out for as long as seven hours. Damage has been estimated at up to $750,000.

The newspaper said the mixture led to an explosion caused by equipment failure. The heat exchanger has been sent to an Atlanta laboratory for further testing.

Sheriffs from across the country were attending a convention at the sprawling hotel at the time. The hotel, with 2,881 rooms, bills itself as the largest non-gaming hotel in the continental U.S.

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