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Blast at Opryland Hotel does $750,000 in damage

Damage was estimated Wednesday at up to $750,000 as a result of a gas explosion at the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

No injuries were reported after the Tuesday night blast, though 5,000 guests were evacuated for as long as seven hours.

The hotel resumed normal operations Wednesday at 7 a.m. Fire officials said the explosion was caused by a gas leak that ignited inside a mechanical room on the first floor in the convention center portion of the hotel and away from guest rooms.

"The entire room was moving," Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall told WSMV-TV. He was attending a convention at the hotel when the explosion happened shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Colin V. Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, said Wednesday the hotel was focusing on "returning to business as usual and repairing the impacted areas of the property with minimal disruption to our guests."

The damaged area was closed off to guests Wednesday.

There was major damage to an escalator, walls and ceiling. The blast was so strong it damaged ceiling tiles on the third floor. There apparently was no fire.

Guests Tuesday night were being given free one-night stays because of the disruption.

Gaylord said the explosion would have little or no effect on upcoming meetings and events.

The hotel, some 15 miles northeast of downtown, sits next to the Grand Ole Opry House, the heart of Nashville's country music scene. With 2,881 rooms, the hotel has 1 million guests annually to rate as the cornerstone of Nashville's tourism industry. It bills itself as the largest non-gaming hotel in the continental U.S. It is known for its indoor waterfalls, extensive inside landscaping and soaring glass atriums.

In 2010, flooding from the nearby Cumberland River caused about $200,000 million in damage to the hotel and forced it to close for six months.

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