Safety measures to secure glass at W Hotel

Diego Cruz

Downtown streets were blocked after glass fell from the W Hotel Tuesday afternoon.

A balcony glass panel shattered and fell, breaking two other panels beneath it and landing in the hotel’s closed pool area, according to a media statement from Beau Armstrong, CEO of Stratus Properties, which runs the hotel.

Police sergeant Keith Bazzle said they would make sure people did not walk in blocked streets for
safety reasons.

“That’s all we’re going to do, [the glass breakage] is not a police-related issue,” Bazzle said.

Samantha Park, spokeswoman for city of Austin, said the city would help the parties responsible in whatever way they could.

“The city will ensure that it’s managed correctly,” Park said.

This was the third instance of glass falling from the W in three weeks, and the second within 24 hours, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The first incident took place on June 10 and injured numerous guests, including UT student Susan Davis and her friend Prashanth Madi, who filed suit against the hotel.

The Statesman reported that four people were injured in the incident.

In their suit, Davis and Madi sought to have the W implement safety measures such as covered sidewalks and restricted pedestrian access to affected areas to prevent any potentially fatal accidents.

The W implemented these precautions Tuesday so they could replace every balcony glass panel in the building, and the hotel will close until further notice, according to Armstrong’s statement.

As of noon Wednesday, all current hotel guests were relocated to other hotels, and people who live in the building will have the choice to remain or relocate while repairs take place, according to a second media statement from Armstrong.

“As of 3 p.m. this afternoon, three floors of glass panels on the north, south and east sides of the building were removed from the balcony frames and secured,” Armstrong said in the statement.

The work will continue until all panels are removed. Investigations by experts have yet to yield
an explanation.