Blast at Hilton San Diego Construction Site Assessed; Accident Did Not Affect Major Medical Convention

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. said on Wednesday that Monday’s natural gas explosion at the construction site of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel, across the street from the convention center, did not affect a 20,000-attendee convention taking place this week, nor did the accident cause structural damage to the upcoming Hilton property.

The explosion occurred Monday afternoon and was powerful enough to be felt throughout downtown San Diego. Three construction workers are in critical condition after sustaining second- and third-degree burns. Eleven others suffered injuries from the blast. An estimated 400 workers were on site at the time of the accident.

Engineers have determined that the blast was caused by a fifth-floor boiler room in the hotel. The 30-story, 1,190-room property is scheduled to open this December as the SDCC’s convention headquarters hotel. Because the damage is not structural and is mostly isolated to the fourth and fifth floors at the northwest corner of the tower, the contractor working on the project is optimistic the Hilton will launch on time. Construction on other areas of the hotel will continue as debris is removed and repairs are made, according to the SDCCC.

The convention center suffered no structural damage, but will deal with some damaged light fixtures on the eastern side exterior. However, the SDCCC said some upcoming convention groups may be affected, and it will contact those clients to give them updates. It did not elaborate on how those groups might be affected.

The major medical convention Digestive Disease Week was not interrupted by the accident. No attendees or convention center staff members were hurt.