Hemet motel room explosion brings huge response

HEMET, Calif. — Police and fire officials are investigating the cause of an explosion inside a motel room that rocked the Hemet Travelodge earlier today, Tuesday, Oct. 20. One man suffered burns and other injuries to both his arms and face, while another man was taken into custody at the scene.

Although officials have not released any information about their ongoing investigation, witnesses staying at the motel who woke to the explosion later said it felt and sounded like a vehicle had struck the building.

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City of Hemet Police and Fire personnel were dispatched to the motel, located at 2600 W. Florida Ave., around 10:30 a.m., after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting an explosion from inside one of the rooms at the location.

When officials arrived they found two dazed and stumbling men outside one of the downstairs rooms at the motel. Officials also reported finding one of the room’s windows completely blown out with the window’s frame dislodged from the outside wall of the room.

An unidentified man who appeared to have been burned on his arms and face was transported to an area hospital after this morning’s explosion at the Hemet Travelodge. Robert Carter & Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo

While firefighters began investigating the cause of the explosion, officers cordoned off the area, to keep motel guests and curious onlookers away from the area in the event of a second explosion.

The male, who appeared to have sustained burns and other injuries to his arms and face, was treated at the scene before being transported to Arrowhead Regional Hospital for further treatment of his injuries.

As their investigation was getting underway, one witness told officers and others at the scene that in the moments after the explosion, he saw a woman with a child hurrying out of the room while carrying “what looked to be scales and bottles.”

According to the witness, the woman fled the scene with the child just prior to officers and firefighters arriving at the scene.

An official at the scene later said the explosion was likely caused by a butane tank that was found inside the damaged room.

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Officers eventually detained and handcuffed the second man found outside the motel room and later transported him to the Hemet Police Station for further investigation. It was not immediately known if the man was arrested or what charges he could be facing.

While firefighters were working inside the motel room they discovered four puppies inside a small cage. The puppies appeared uninjured according to witnesses at the scene, and animal control officers were summoned to the location to retrieve them.

Four puppies who were inside the motel room when the explosion happened appeared uninjured and were later picked up by animal control officers. Robert Carter & Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo

According to Hemet PD, more information and details about the incident would be released at a later time.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.


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Robert Carter & Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photos above, video below.


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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