When police officers first arrived at a Motel 6 in Bremerton, Wash., on Aug. 18, they had no idea that a gas explosion would level a quarter of the building within minutes. Instead, they were called to the building because of a domestic dispute—and now they say that dispute may have led to the building's destruction. Police tell NBC News that a man had taken his stepdaughter to the motel "to let everyone cool down and keep her away from her mother" after a family argument. But when the mom showed up at the Motel 6, he and the girl escaped out a window. "The stepfather has admitted that he stepped on the gas meter to assist his stepdaughter out of the second-floor window," police say.
The man says he heard a "loud hissing sound" before the pair drove away, police add. As officers arrived to deal with the dispute, a motel manager told them about the gas leak. Authorities then helped evacuate the motel's 75 guests, per Q13 Fox. Thirty minutes later, an explosion rocked the building. No one was killed, though a gas employee suffered a broken back, neck, and severe burns, reports KING 5. Two firefighters were also injured, one with bruised ribs, the other with a concussion. Prosecutors are deciding whether to bring any charges against the family members. (The casualties could have been much worse if not for the fast-acting motel manager.)