26 People Injured, 6 Hospitalized After 'Powerful' Explosion at Florida Casino

Workers were performing bi-yearly maintenance on the fire suppression system when the explosion took place at the Seminole Classic Casino

Seminole Casino explosion
Explosion at the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood. Photo: Susan Stocker/TNS/Zuma

More than two dozen people were injured on Monday after an explosion took place at a Florida casino, according to authorities.

Gary Bitner, a spokesperson for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood, confirmed the incident while speaking to NBC affiliate WTVJ.

Bitner said the fire suppression system at the casino, which helps put out fires, was receiving bi-yearly maintenance work when the explosion happened shortly before 10 a.m.

"This is a fire suppression system in an area where there's a good bit of equipment in the casino," Bitner explained to WTVJ. "It was being serviced — it is serviced every six months — and once the equipment was reconnected, one of the tanks with the gas that's used to put out a possible fire actually ruptured."

Approximately 100 employees and guests were inside the building at the time, The Miami Herald reported.

The explosion caused the drywall from the second floor to come crashing down onto the first floor as a scene of panic unfolded inside the casino, according to Fox affiliate WSVN and the Herald.

Witness Rainier Hernandez told WSVN it felt like "a big explosion" and recalled how "everybody got out and started running."

Another woman, who was near the spot where the drywall came down told the outlet that it felt like "a big bomb... went off."

"It was powerful," Bitner recalled.

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Following the incident, the Seminole Classic Casino was evacuated, WSVN reported.

Members with Hollywood Fire Rescue were immediately called to the scene and arrived around 10:30 a.m. to assess the damage and injuries, per the outlet.

A total of 26 people were injured in the explosion, with 20 of them treated on scene and released, while the other six were transported to a nearby hospital, Bitner told WTVJ. None of the injures were life-threatening.

By Monday afternoon, four of the six who were hospitalized had been released, WSVN reported.

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As Seminole and Hollywood Fire Rescue officials investigated the incident throughout Monday, the casino was closed to the public. "They are looking at how exactly this took place so that we can understand and make sure it never happens again," Bitner told WTVJ.

However, later that evening, Bitner confirmed to WSVN that the casino was open again. "We reopened at 8:30, and people have been coming back in there to have fun," Bitner said.

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