Carbon County, PA – A gas explosion rocked Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in the Poconos early Friday morning, severely damaging the sports complex to the rear of the Galleria Restaurant building.
Only one person an employee was in the building when the gas exploded around 7:30 a.m., Split Rock project manager Chuck Dickinson said.
The employee was not seriously injured.
The explosion happened about five minutes after an odor associated with leaking gas was detected, Dickinson said.
“We believe it to be linked to some type of (liquid propane) gas line,” Dickinson said. “It exploded in an area that was luckily not inhabited by any guests, and it was contained to our sports complex.”
The resort is located on Lake Harmony in Kidder Township, Carbon County, near Big Boulder Ski Area.
Dickinson said the employee was treated and released, and guests were evacuated from the nearby Galleria and other facilities as a precaution. Dickinson said they were allowed to return to their rooms and activities about 10 a.m.
The sports complex, which is about 40,000 square feet, is located to the rear of the Galleria building and indoor water park on the 1,200-acre resort. It is a free-standing structure but is attached to the Galleria, and houses three tennis courts, an eight-lane bowling alley, fitness facilities, video arcade and other indoor recreation.
Dickinson said the explosion and damage was contained to the sports complex, but the damage was severe. Dickinson said the building appears to be structurally sound and repairable, but engineers will be inspecting it later Friday.
“We have no idea” how it happened, Dickinson said. “There was no construction going on and nothing related to the gas.”
The propane gas believed to be the cause of the explosion is used to the heat building, Dickinson said.
The resort opened in 1941 in the Split Rock Lodge building, which remains in use as a hotel. The resort also has 27 holes of golf and facilities for conventions and banquets. It has had financial struggles over the years, including a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in the early 1990s. The resort under its owner and president, W. Jack Kalins, came out of bankruptcy and appears to have thrived in recent years, with the addition of facilities like the indoor water park.