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2 Dead in Industrial Building Explosion in Houston

2 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

Two people are dead after a building explosion in Houston damaged homes and scattered debris in the surrounding area early Friday morning.

The explosion happened inside a building at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, an industrial facility that provides machining and thermal spray coatings, around 4:30 a.m., according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Chief Acevedo said that the explosion is being investigated by the HPD Homicide division, the Environmental Crimes Division, Houston Fire Department Arson division and the Houston Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to determine what happened.

“This community is a community of faith. Please pray for the two victims that we have recovered here,” Chief Acevedo said at the press conference. “This is a company that has been here for many many years and in talking to the employees and their families they’re a pretty tight-knit group of people.”

He added that the two people that died are likely two Hispanic male employees that worked at the facility but they have not been positively identified yet.

One other person was taken to the hospital following the explosion, according to the Houston Fire Department.

A video posted to Twitter from a camera mounted to a window facing the area of the explosion showed a large flash of light followed by flames.

Houston police said they were blocking off streets in the area surrounding the site of the explosion. Chief Acevedo warned people to avoid inhalation explosion “out of an over abundance of caution” on Twitter. Acevedo said debris from the explosion extended about half a mile.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the explosion. Residents in the area near the blast said the explosion broke windows, doors and garage doors, KTRK reports.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com and Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com