SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – When ordered to evacuate a Utah county sheriff took off into the danger zone.
Sheriff Jim Tracy of Utah County is attending a national sheriff’s convention in Nashville Tennessee.
Tuesday night an explosion rocked the famed Opryland Resort and Convention Hotel.
Tracy was at the top of an escalator and as he was looking down felt the explosion coming from near the escalator.
"When it did go off, it produced a large flash,” he says. “And we could see all the materials that was being blown into the escalator and that pressure came up and knocked us around a little bit and started dropping the roof materials around us.”
Sheriff Tracy and two other law enforcement colleagues went down the escalator towards the explosion.
Someone videotaped the aftermath and was placed on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZxKFxX_Y_M
Sheriff Tracy is seen in the middle of the debris.
“At first we weren't sure what we had,” he says. “We thought there might be some kind of terrorist incident related to the director of ICE being there.”
But then using his 20-plus years as a bomb expert, he knew it wasn't an act of terrorism, but a mechanical explosion.
“It blew out a wall about 15 feet wide by about 30 feet high and then blew the opposite wall out of this room and then dropped all of the materials around it,” he says.
Sheriff Tracy along with two other law enforcement colleagues sifted through the rubble. The thought of a second explosion did occur to him.
But nothing else happened and there were no victims under the rubble. Sheriff Tracy says he didn’t hesitate doing what he did.
“No, no, it's any other law enforcement officer would have done and two others did, along with me,” he says. “That's what we do. That's what we've been trained to do.”
Other than smoke inhalation and lack of sleep, Sheriff Tracy says he’s okay.