47.7 F
Fort Worth
Saturday, October 24, 2020
News Police: 2 dead after warehouse explosion shakes Houston

Police: 2 dead after warehouse explosion shakes Houston

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

HOUSTON (AP) — Two people died after a massive explosion Friday leveled a warehouse in Houston, damaging nearby buildings and homes and rousing frightened people from their sleep miles away, authorities said.

The explosion happened about 4:30 a.m. inside a building at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, which makes valves and provides thermal-spray coatings for equipment in various industries, authorities said. The building was reduced to burning rubble and debris, and some of the surrounding buildings suffered heavy damage to parts of their walls and roofs.

Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed the deaths Friday. He said authorities don’t believe the explosion was intentional though a criminal investigation is underway.

Acevedo asked residents who live nearby to search their homes and neighborhoods for any debris — including body parts — and to contact police if they find anything that could aid in the investigation.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said hazardous materials crews have secured the valve on a 2,000-gallon (7,571-liter) tank of propylene that had been leaking. Propylene is a colorless gas used to produce chemicals in plastics, synthetic rubber and gasoline. It is highly flammable and can explode in a fire. People exposed to propylene can become dizzy and light-headed, and the gas can also cause liver damage.

Nearby homes sustained significant damage. Some were knocked off their foundations.

Danny Wilson, 63, who lives less than a mile from the site, said he was sleeping when his wife woke him up.

“She heard a big noise and the (grandkids) were running out of their rooms,” Wilson said. “She said it was some kind of explosion or somebody was trying to get in.”

Wilson said he first checked inside his home to make sure nobody had broken in and then he went outside and talked to neighbors to find out what was going on and to check for any damage.

“I didn’t notice any broken glass and I looked at the back window and it was shattered big time,” Wilson said.

He said the blast also broke glass on part of his front windows.

“Everybody seems to be OK now. That’s the main thing,” Wilson said.

Mark Brady, who lives near the site, told TV station KPRC that the explosion “knocked us all out of bed.”

“It busted out every window in our house. It busted everybody’s garage door in around here … and closer toward the explosion over here, it busted people’s roofs in and walls in,” he said

The blast shook other buildings, with reports on Twitter of a boom felt across the city. Pena said there were no reports of hazardous air quality, based on monitoring done by a hazardous materials team.

A phone number for Watson Grinding was out of service when called by a reporter with The Associated Press on Friday morning. The family-owned business manufactures valves and provides thermal-spray coatings for equipment used in the chemical, mining, petroleum and aerospace industries, among others, according to its website.

Houston police tweeted that officers were blocking off streets, but no evacuation was ordered. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said first responders checked on residents of nearby homes.

Several people told TV station KHOU that the explosion was so loud, they thought a bomb had gone off or that a vehicle had crashed into their homes.

This part of Texas is home to the highest concentration of oil refineries in the nation and has experienced a series of explosions in recent years. Last July, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown, east of Houston, left more than dozen people with minor injuries and put nearby residents under a shelter-in-place advisory for three hours.

In December, two blasts in the coastal city of Port Neches shattered windows and ripped the doors from nearby homes.

___

Associated Press writer Jill Bleed contributed to this report from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Latest News

Senate GOP marches ahead on Barrett over Democrats’ blockade

By LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised for a rare...

Texas’ massive early voting numbers have persisted, leading to predictions of overall turnout unseen in years

By Alex Samuels and Mandi Cai, The Texas Tribune Oct. 23, 2020 "Texas’ massive early voting numbers have persisted,...

Conflict raging over ‘The Eyes of Texas’ school song

By JIM VERTUNO AP Sports Writer AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Losing football games is one thing at the University...

Donald Trump and Joe Biden sparred over Texas’ energy industry and global warming during final presidential debate

By Abby Livingston, The Texas Tribune Oct. 22, 2020 "Donald Trump and Joe Biden...

Debate Takeaways: Trump vs. Biden on virus, race, climate

By BILL BARROW and ZEKE MILLER Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden met for the second...