The news is reporting that early this morning, an explosion at a manufacturing business in northwest Houston killed two people and hospitalized at least one person. The blast occurred at Watson Valve Services around 4:15 AM, damaging nearby homes in the resulting shockwave. It occurred about 18 miles northwest of downtown Houston.
A video of the blast was posted to Twitter from a local’s window-mounted camera. It appears that a fireball was generated by the explosion. One source reports the explosion was large enough to be caught on weather radar.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the blast sent debris flying for up to a half mile from the site of the explosion. At least one person was hospitalized after being struck by shattered glass (although others may have been injured in their homes). Homes close to the explosion suffered damage to their doors and windows; one home’s entire roof collapsed.
“The whole house is ruined,” the resident said to local news. "The whole ceiling crashed down on all of us. We were all trapped in there and a nice family came and helped us out. It's trashed. It's just trashed."
Another resident, who lives a half-mile from the exploded manufacturing business, said the blast “busted out every window” and damaged garage doors, walls, and roofs. Firefighters have asked that people walk away from their damaged homes until they can be assessed. Residents reported that firefighters were calling it a gas explosion.
Houston police have opened up a criminal investigation, but they haven't found evidence that it was an intentional explosion.
Smoke & Flames Followed by Small Explosions
The large, initial explosion was followed by small explosions in the early morning hours. As of an hour after the explosion, the site was still burning, and firefighters were on the scene trying to put out the flames. Meanwhile, first responders were going through the neighborhoods around the explosion site to check on residents.
No evacuations were immediately ordered. The local school district, Spring Branch ISD, still plans on having a full school day—although the students will be kept indoors while the air quality is still being monitored. Authorities say the chemical in the air is polypropylene, which is lighter than air, so it will dissipate.
Our Houston explosion accident firm hopes for the speedy recovery of the person who was injured, and we hope first responders find the missing person alive and well. Check back here for more updates on the explosion at Watson Valve Services.