Big Houston Building Explosion Damages Homes, Resident Says it's 'a Warzone over Here'

Police in Houston, Texas, are investigating the cause of a large explosion on the 4500 block of Gessner Road that reportedly started a fire and shook buildings.

"Explosion of building: 4500 Gessner. Patrol units blocking off streets in the area. HFD responding," Houston Police tweeted today, noting a command post was being set up.

Officials urged residents to avoid the "hot zone between Gessner, Genard, Sefani & Clay Road."

The source of the suspected blast, which sprayed debris across half a mile, remains unclear. But KTRK reported it appeared to be traced back to a building of a company called Watson Grinding and Manufacturing.

According to KTRK, the owner of the facility confirmed the explosion had been tied to a propylene tank, which holds a form of extremely flammable gas.

Residents felt the explosion shortly before 4:30 a.m. Local media reported the incident resulted in broken windows and doors but it remains unknown if anyone in the neighborhood was injured.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote on Twitter today: "Please avoid this area and do not [let] curiosity get the best of you.

"Increases of flames and small explosions at plant continue per @houstonpolice airship. Please avoid exposure if at [all] possible until further notice.

He added: "Some Spring Branch ISD Schools may be impacted by this explosion this morning, please check with the school district before you head out to class in the area."

Houston Police has been contacted for additional information.

Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said a hazmat team had responded to the scene and would continue to monitor the situation.

There was no evacuation order in place and no reports of hazardous air quality in the area or neighborhood surrounding the incident site.

"Firefighters responding to reports of an explosion. One person has been transported to the hospital from that area," the department said in a Twitter update.

@HoustonFire HazMat is actively conducting atmospheric monitoring.

NO report of hazardous air quality in the area or neighborhood surrounding the incident site https://t.co/hqivelbOzj

— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) January 24, 2020

Local resident Mark Brady told KPRC: "[The blast] knocked us all out of our bed, it was so strong. 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 and we don't know what it is... It's a warzone over here."

People who live in the area posted to social media footage and pictures from close to the early-morning explosion.

"Was there an explosion in Houston? My apartment just shook wtf was that," one person wrote on Twitter.

Another Twitter user from the area said: "There was an explosion in Houston right by my apt and my window busted. It was the loudest noise I've ever heard, I'm terrified."

Breaking: Video just into our newsroom showing the aftermath of an explosion in Houston, TX.

Police say this is an industrial facility. Witnesses say the windows and walls of their homes rattled.

At this hour, authorities warn of a second blast. @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/w5BPCwx2a6

— Brandon Truitt (@BrandonTruittTV) January 24, 2020

Explosion of building: 4500 Gessner. Patrol units blocking off streets in the area. HFD responding. #hounews #houtraffic CC8

— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) January 24, 2020

There was an explosion in Houston right by my apt and my window busted. It was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard, I’m terrified

— Rach (@rachelliromero) January 24, 2020

I just woke up. 4:25am. Houston either had an explosion, an earthquake, or an asteroid hit. I’m guessing refinery explosion. That was a big shake. #Houston

— Adam Holt (@adamholtwrites) January 24, 2020

Jose Ramos just gave me these photos from inside his daughter’s home. Ceiling cracked, sliding doors blown in. Everyone ok. Kids were terrified, he says. #abc13 #houstonexplosion pic.twitter.com/AzMUOmnK9U

— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) January 24, 2020
Houston Texas explosion TX
The industrial area in Houston, Texas, close to the alleged source of the large explosion in the early hours of the morning on Friday, January 24, 2020. Google Street View