**An update regarding this incident was posted on 12/26/19.**
On December 24, 2019, at 0517 hours, the Lebanon Fire Department received an alarm from municipal box 331 at the Element Hotel at 25 Foothill Street. Upon arrival, personnel investigated a light odor of smoke and water on the 1st floor. While attempting to force entry into the electrical room, personnel encountered an explosion.
The duty captain and one firefighter were injured and able to exit the building. The firefighter, Todd Hamilton was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center by the Hanover Fire Department ambulance. Firefighter Hamilton suffered head injuries, a broken arm, and broken ribs and was admitted to DHMC. Captain Jeffrey Egner was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center by the Hartford Fire Department ambulance. Captain Egner suffered a head injury and was treated and released. A total of 8 occupants of the building were also seen at DHMC for minor injuries. 3 guests were rescued through 1st-floor windows by Lebanon Fire Department personnel.
During search operations, a fire was found in a utility room on the 5th floor. The fire was quickly extinguished. Due to the size of the building and the need to search 129 hotel rooms plus other spaces a 3rd alarm assignment was requested. A total of 9 departments and 40-50 personnel were on the scene.
There was a total of 80 guests and 3 staff members in the hotel at the time of the incident and all have been accounted for. The building suffered extensive damage from the explosion and cannot be safely re-occupied at this time.
The incident is under investigation by the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Lebanon Fire Department.
Please contact Chief Christopoulos at the Lebanon Fire Department should you have any questions at 603-448-8810.