- Two people were killed in an explosion at a northwest Houston manufacturing plant.
- Residents were jolted awake and windows in several nearby homes were shattered in the blast.
- The cause was not immediately known.
- A hazardous materials team is working in the area.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
At least two people were killed during massive explosion at a manufacturing plant in Houston early Friday morning, Houston Police said in a press conference posted on Twitter.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) January 24, 2020
Rescuers and Houston Police responded to the plant, Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, in the northwest part of the city just before 4:30 a.m. and immediatly took one person to the hospital.
About 200 homes in the area were damaged and some nearby residents said the explosion knocked them out of bed and caused their windows to break. Some homes in the area were knocked off their foundations, the fire department said.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña Tweeted that a hazardous materials team was “actively conducting atmospheric monitoring” but there was no report of hazardous air quality in the area.
@HoustonFire HazMat is actively conducting atmospheric monitoring.
NO report of hazardous air quality in the area or neighborhood surrounding the incident site https://t.co/hqivelbOzj
— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) January 24, 2020
A spokesperson for the plant told ABC Eyewitness News that the explosion was caused by a propylene tank.
Propylene is fast-evaporating and the Houston Fire Department assured local residents that there was no dangerous gas in the air.
Police have launched a criminal investigation, involving several agencies, but as of 10:30 a.m., there was no reason to believe that the blast was intentional, according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
“That immediate location will be under police control for a few days. It’s important to know we now have roaming patrols in the neighbourhood,” he said in a statement. “If you are caught looting homes, you will be charged to the fullest extent of the law. Understand that.”
The Watson Grinding and Manufacturing is a manufacturing plant specializing in precision machined parts, thermal spray coatings, and grinding services. The business has been around for more than 50 years.
A video taken from a nearby home, and posted on Twitter, shows a ball of fire rising over the building after the initial blast.
— Joey Charpentier (@BattleNub19) January 24, 2020
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales Tweeted around 6 a.m. that no evacuations were immediately needed.
For the moment, no evacuation instructions are in place by @HoustonFire. First responders are checking on residents immediately adjacent to the facility. Firefighters continue to try to put out the flames. RT @Heide2019: https://t.co/ABwc60vrt5
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) January 24, 2020
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