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Hotel to replace glass after panels fall

AUSTIN, Texas, June 28 (UPI) -- A Texas hotel said nearly 1,000 glass panels on its balconies are set to be replaced after three fell more than 20 stories to the streets below.

A spokesman for the W Austin Hotel and Residences in Austin said the panels fell Monday and damaged five parked cars on West Third and Lavaca streets, but no injuries were reported, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday.

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"Based on the information that is currently available, the hotel believes that one glass panel on the 31st floor was broken and that the resulting falling debris broke panels on the 29th and 22nd floors," W Hotel General Manager Drew McQuade said in a statement. "It is unknown what caused the first panel to break. Engineering and glass experts are investigating and we continue to cooperate with city officials."

The hotel said two panels previously fell more than 20 floors to the facility's pool area June 10, causing four people to sustain minor injuries.

Dan McNabb, Austin's division manager for building inspections, said officials met with representatives from the hotel and developer Stratus Properties to discuss the issue and the planned repairs. He said officials will release more information once the repair plans have been reviewed.

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