The explosion that rocked the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing around 4:15 a.m on January 24, 2020 was absolutely devastating. This incident killed two employees at the manufacturing facility, caused severe damage to the industrial buildings at the site, and displaced residents up to half a mile away from the explosion site.
The explosion that occurred at the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing in the early morning hours destroyed several buildings debris and sent shock waves much farther. Many nearby homes were knocked off of their foundation due to the force of the blast. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at the time that “This is, in essence, a disaster area right now.”
According to reports at the time, the explosion was called by the gas propylene. The day following the explosion, a fire department spokesperson would not confirm that propylene was the cause of the incident, but they confirmed that propylene tanks were at the worksite and were involved in the explosion and fire.
Two men lost their lives in the blast. Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena were both employees at the company. Aside from these two fatalities, the fire department transported two people to the hospital, and 18 others went to the hospital on their own.
Officials say that more lives would have been lost had the blast occurred two hours later, when more employees would have been in the building.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said that 214 homes around the explosion site were damaged in some way. Out of those, approximately 50 were destroyed. The debris field was so widespread after the explosion that police and fire officials asked residents to look for human remains and other debris in their yards and on their roofs.
Mark Brady, a man who lives approximately half a mile away from the manufacturing site, told a news agency that the blast “knocked us all out of bed.” He went on to say that “It Busted out every window in our house.”
Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin said that “A lot of houses in the neighborhood are not going to be livable for a number of weeks.”
The Watson Grinding and Manufacturing has faced many lawsuits as a result of this explosion and recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Among the lawsuits that have been filed against the company include a wrongful death claim filed by the family of Frank Flores seeking monetary relief of more than $1 million. Other lawsuits, as of this writing, involve claims from many nearby residents related to property damage.
Were you or somebody you know affected by the Houston plant explosion in January of 2020? Did you sustain any injuries or lose your home do to this blast? At the Doan Law Firm, our knowledgeable and experienced team is ready to get to work investigating your case. Our goal is to secure any compensation you may be entitled to, which can include: