“We have no reason to believe that terrorism is involved,” he told reporters, adding that an investigation is the department’s protocol.
A 2,000-gallon tank of highly flammable gas that caused the explosion has been secured, Houston fire chief Samuel Peña said at a press conference on Friday morning. All valves emitting gas have been closed, he said.
The tank contained propylene, a highly flammable gas, the plant owner told KTRK.
“We are waiting for the final fire to catch fire,” Peña told reporters. “Adding water could cause runoff [of chemicals]. “
There are no concerns about toxins in the air at this time, Peña said.
The nearby houses were shaken and some damaged, with broken windows, collapsed ceilings and some crumbling structures, KTRK reported.
“[The explosion] He took us all out of our bed, it was so strong, “Mark Brady told KPRC 2.” It broke all the windows of our house. He opened everyone’s garage door around here. “
Another resident captured the orange flame explosion in the camera.
Acevedo tweeted that debris shot through the air, traveling up to half a mile from the explosion site.
Until further notice, avoid inhalation exposure
Over abundance of caution.
– Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) January 24, 2020
Peña told reporters that a mall adjacent to the plant suffered significant damage in the explosion. He estimates that he and his crew will inspect the area for a week.
A Mormon temple has been designated as a temporary shelter, according to Houston Mayor Dave Martin. The city is trying to establish shelters and permanent housing for people whose homes are uninhabitable, he said.
Two schools in the area are closed for the day. Residents are cautioned to take precautions, although a mandatory evacuation was not issued, according to KHOU-11.
Acevedo said his employees have brought personal drones to inspect the roofs and get a better extent of damage.
He also issued a severe warning to anyone caught looting in the affected area: “If you get caught, you will be charged in full law. You will not receive a slap on the wrist, ”he said.
Acevedo and Peña requested that the public search their homes and neighborhoods for rubble and body parts. If something is found, they urge residents not to touch their findings, but to contact the authorities.