‘I can’t believe he’s still alive’: Hotel blast shock
A 52-YEAR-OLD man has been rushed to hospital with "life threatening burns" after an explosion in a Darwin hotel this morning.
Watch Commander Michael Valladares said that all three emergency services rushed to the Casa on Gregory hotel on Gregory St, Parap about 2.30 am this morning after reports of an explosion in one of the rooms.
Acting Sen Sgt Valladares said that "on arrival a room was found to be extensively damaged" and the occupant of the room was located with extensive burns and rushed to Royal Darwin Hospital.
"He is currently being intubated in intensive care where his injuries are considered life-threatening," he said.
The man remains in RDH in a critical condition.
The Casa on Gregory hotel is next door to the iconic - but now closed - former Darwin nightspot, Bogart's Bar & Grill.
The hotel room has been cordoned off and police have extended the crime scene to include a common driveway where debris, including the case of a remote control, a glass, salt and pepper shakers, newspaper and plastic, could be seen.
Detectives and forensics are on the scene collecting boxes of evidence and discussing the incident among themselves.
Residents have been allowed to come and go as they please.
Shareece and her partner Mitch, who live above the damaged unit, were first at the scene and ran outside when they heard the "explosion".
"Me and my partner, we ran out and he ran around the side because he thought it was a car crash and I ran around the other side," she said.
"It was a neighbor downstairs, he (Mitch) got a fire extinguisher and I called triple zero.
"My partner Mitch was pretty quick to get the extinguisher and put it (the fire) out but it was going up pretty quick because it got to some of the palm trees."
Shareece said they were immediately concerned about their neighbour, who they'd been to the pub with a few times.
"He wasn't talking or yelling out like if he was in there and he wasn't responding at first," she said.
"But then he started to speak up so we went down and told him to get in the shower and waited for the ambulance."
Shareece said she could smell gas.
Next door neighbour Mag Vigneswaran told the NT News he heard a blast about 2.40am this morning.
Mr Vigneswaran said he thought it was a dream but looked outside and saw fire.
"I just called out to the guy but he didn't answer," he said.
"So then I looked into his room, the furniture was broken.
"Then I looked into the shower, he was taking shower.
"He said it was a gas blast."
A gas bottle could be seen outside the injured man's unit about 2m from the front door.
Mr Vigneswaran said he didn't know him very well but he seemed nice.
"Whenever I saw him we used to have a little chat, but very rare to see him because I think he's working in the night or something like that," he said.
Witness Eric Togno, who has lived at the Gregory Street apartments for about five months, said "all I heard was a big bang, like a huge, huge explosion".
"To be honest, I can't believe he's still alive. I just can't believe he's not dead," he said.
"Look over that concrete fence that goes over to the next driveway, furniture is over there.
"It was just a small fire at the front, but nothing big.
"But you can see inside it's all black.
"It could have been a lot worse, for sure.
"I don't know him personally but, like, we'll say goodbye to each other and stuff.
"He kept to himself."