Officials provide another update on explosion in northwest Houston
Channel. 2 News begins. Right, now with breaking news. Breaking. News on a massive, explosion at Watson grinding, and manufacturing, off Gesner near Clay in northwest Houston it, killed at least two people and has damaged nearly 200. Homes the Houston Fire Department is giving a briefing, right now we want to listen in to, assist us with with, searching the area, at. This at this time it's still under. The control of the fire, department the entire scene we're. Gonna proceed, after, in. Unison, I guess in assessing, the the homes that are that are in the neighborhood to the west and just. For structural stability, as. Far as the operation the rescue operation, as I said we moved into a recovery phase right now it's, gonna be meticulous, it's gonna take some time we, got members of the hazmat team rescue. Team from the fire department as well as ATF, assisting. Us in this operation. We've, set up a unified command with all the agencies that I mentioned here and and, we're. Moving systematically. Working. Our way back to what we will call, ground, zero I guess which is the actual plant that that that, blew up, we'll. Have we'll. Open it up for questions but at this point that's that's where we are in regards to the rescue, and recovery operation. From the Houston Fire Department. I'm. Going to turn it over to my colleague. Here art acevedo and he'll talk a little bit about the the investigation, portion of. Seguro. Mera este este momento desde, la ultima vez que hablamos hemos. Pasado. Otro otra. Pase. De la, investigación. Tenemos. Tres pero, scans van assistir por la investigación. De. Men juntos canal ATF, gun Tuscan Departamento, de policía z-- y las, otras a census que estan aqui ayudarnos. Seguro. De, vino hemos estado. L LJ, okay, casaya shown in la. Vecindad a low este este desta. Local pero. Este. Momento vamos, a procedure. Poco. Poco hasta, que llegó most hasta la area KKK. On the coriolis, question see okay. Alright. Good afternoon everybody first of all I want to just say thank, you everybody for your patience, it's. Been a it's been a long night for all of us and the, thing that we want to go. Out to our community this we as a community of faith to. Please pray for the two victims that we have that. We have, uncovered. Here at the scene these. Victims. Are the high probability that they are employees, of this company achieve. Pay Nia myself Center wittmeyer. The. ATF sac, here Fred, Menelaus key and the Mayor Pro Tem and. Our, councilmember have, been. In contact the families we've made it, we. Told them that we can't say a hundred percent it's their loved ones but you, know you, connect the dots the probability. Is high very, high that's them I can, just tell you that the company that's involved has, been nothing. But cooperative so far with us this. Is a company has been here for many many years and in. Talking to the employees and, their families. They're. Pretty tight-knit. Group. Of people I mean they do consider themselves extended, family so, my condolences. All, of our condolences go out to the. Families, involved and obviously this, is a an. Area where you. Know it's not it's, not the most affluent neighborhood, so, my. Thoughts are with all the individuals. Whether they ran our own that. Will, potentially be displaced, by this event this, morning and. So for those that can, help just remember the Red Cross is set up there. Here in the in the area and if. You can help these families that are being displaced today, please.
Let Us know I'm. Going to give you a quick overview, of where we're at I'm one then kick, it over, to, Fred. Mellon house keys or colleague from the ATF, he's a special agent charge here and then, we'll. Let. The ask the Mayor Pro Tem or the councilman really want to see any and then at the end we'll open up the questions to, when he was up. Jerri Pena who's, with. Assistant director over, the Houston Fresno Science Center's here if, anybody has specific questions for him but he's not playing I'll make it a statement first let's start with the investigation, the investigation, has been launched as a multidisciplinary. Multi-jurisdictional. Investigation. That. Is being, conducted. By the Houston. Fire Department. Arson. Division the, Houston Police Department homicide division, and, environmental. Crimes division with, assistance, from the from, a Kaos, office, in terms of their environmental crimes unit and, we do have a district attorney here on scene this. Morning in, consultation, with chief Pena we. Made the decision that one of the things that's really important, when you have an. Instant like this is to know what's the causative factor what happened and we, know that the ATF does a phenomenal job in, terms, and bring some phenomenal capabilities, in terms of leased type of incidents they've got a lot of experience in it so, we made a request through, red malinowski who will speak after me to. The, to. The ATF in terms of, providing. Their National Response Team Fred. Thankfully. Send. It up to change to the director, of the ATF, director. Lombardo, is a great leader and obviously. That they've approved, it and there will be here on the ground so you have a federal and local. Joint. Investigation. With those three entities. That. Investigation, will begin has. Already begun but. Until the fire department is the actual scene from, a safety perspective. Investigators. Are actually obviously won't be processing. That scene that immediate scene we're, Ground Zero occurred we'll probably be, under, police, control. For. Probably four to five days but. That I have a minimal impact on, this community. We have some closure I'll go over gesture, will remain closed for the manual this state gasmer, which. Is this Main Street Iran right now between, Jannard. And clay, Road will, remain closed, for the mend of the day that facilitate, all the emergency equipment and the investigators, there, are two neighborhoods, have been impacted, by this blast the first neighborhood is West Branch French. Pat's Brent West Branch neighborhood, we will be putting this out through our om into our social media and other others. And that, neighborhood is, from Goodrem, road, on the north. Clay. On the South shadow. Dale on the West and gunner, on the east again. That's good rum road. On the north clay. On the south shadow, day on the west and guest on the east, the, other neighborhood, that is under police, control, right now because. Of damage to homes is the Carver, Dale neighborhood, and that, is generic, road on the north again. This is the Carver Dale neighborhood, Girard North Road on the north clay, on the south Gesner, on the west and, to lean away at a Holley hook. Which. Is a little area right up here if. You need to go to those neighborhoods the only people that will be allowed in until further notice, our, residents. We. Will be having patrols, in that area looking. For anybody that might try to loot some of the houses that may end up having to be evacuated because they're deemed, unstable by these. The. Fire. Department, and we. Will have those patrols. 24/7. In, the upcoming days so. Stay out of that area you will not be allowed to be, in to, come in in. Those areas the other thing that's really important, for the community again we put it out earlier these, blasts, have tremendous, power we know that we've. Had blasts over the years where evidence. Is found a mile away do not assume that, there's no evidence if you're just here a mile from here please if you're within a mile, or two of this area.
You Get home, check, check around your yard see if you find any any, type of debris, any, type of evidence. Whether, it's human remains. Please, please let us know we. Only have two people that are accounted, for and, we have recovered two bodies that. Doesn't, mean that there's people that no one knows we're in the area and so we cannot, say that whether or not there's more victims, but right now it appears a high property there's only two victims and, so with that a, mayor. Turner he's on his way, back he will be back here on the ground about 5:00 p.m. and there, will be one more briefing, more likely later on early, evening between, 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. and that'll be the final briefing, of, the day and, so with that I want to turn it over very quickly let's. Go on to Spanish first, panel. Go. Okay. So expand, your. Circle. You have a Pena. Enhancer, yeah parado no tenemos do peligro so gesture Mencia, provoking, city nemesis investigation. Cream in our Camus and pensado. Cool. Appreciated, Houston and, the television they mean the Amish videos. Eaten. Bien con muchos Cola gas and an arson, Ignacio. Legacy near federal esta, mañana el jefe Pena I used to monitor decision the Karaka. Demos todos los equipos. Especially. Since asean Aleksey. Act in a human. In our case excelente. EP. Demos que su. Team national que manga Kia Houston, yesterday. Barnyard. Esta, area nakiya, kevin aqui esta - see part, astac. Aye no, esta la vie de, l'église. De Dez de la Jannard. Al Norte, osterlich, lay esta que esta correct noe. I toss, me scenarios que, esto. En parte de por este momento. El West Branch, guitar. Until a Norton, and, Gudrun. Soon in the clay al. Oeste in Saturday, realistic. Gastner a lottery, scenario, s at Carbondale, mr., Norte, Jannard, ensued clay annalistic. Gastner, realistic, talena. Way a holy, book no, opponent, relies ideas, telecontrol, the, Ponto, politically houston new emporium trots in identification senora's. A unit. Entering Solaria também, emotional Petronas patreon, de la finta cuatro horas en estos when, está en estos reason adios para seguir a kannada stay robando, Astra's, personas. Que son víctimas, que decir ese momento op 11 su casa y SI, y este área que están, cerrados, astronomist. Akash import what rhosync odious okay so without much are over to the.
Sack For, the Houston field office, Fred, non-ascii, of the ATF and then we'll. Turn it over from there to to. The clear for 10. Good, afternoon as, the chief said the ATF, National Response team is going to be coming in they're traveling here today I just, wanna give a little background on that team that team brings experts, from across the country and they've. Worked over, 850. Scenes all. Major arsons, and major explosives, have happened in this country in the last 30 years about wolf by the natural response team, they, bring chemists, they bring explosives, experts. They bring, fire. Research experts. They bring canines, they. Bring electrical engineers and, then they have the ability to reach out and grab, any other experts they need within the federal government so they. Will be here just to give you a little background of, what they've done in the past if, you remember when we had the major explosion, in West Texas that was a team that process that scene they, also processed all the scenes during, the Austin bombing case there. There ATF's, most elite team so. We are bringing the, best people from across the country in to, make sure that we know exactly. What happened during this incident so. Thank you I want, to add one other thing because when we talk about criminal vestigation, and you talk about. Explosions. People try to think of terrorism, they start thinking about intentional. Acts as, of. Right now we have no indication, that this any, terrorism Nexus, or of, any intentional, act having said that this, industry, that we're dealing with we talk about chemicals, and you talk about these type of industries. Are highly, regulated industries, very, strict, stringent. Requirements, in terms of a lot of things they have to do and when. If we investigating. We find that, things. That were supposed to be done by, either the, primary. Company, or vendors, that are servicing, their, equipment, and things. Of that nature and then people die and we have explosions, all these other things that can, create, a criminal offense and so it's really important, that the community knows that that's.
What We're investigating, at this point and there's no no. Indication, of an, intentional. Act that. Led to the explosion in terms of wanting to make the explosion occur either. By. You. Know some disgruntled employee or anybody else or terrorist, event, is it clear. On that okay. Thank You G penny wants to have one last thing and then we reach over to. Thank, You chief I just want to clarify where, we are the on the recovery, phase we're, conducting our primary, searches, in the in the area of the explosion, okay we've, conducted a primary, search in the neighborhood, to the west of, this location, in. That area we're also going, back a second, time for our secondary, assessment. And to, ensure that there are no victims in, those homes okay no, indication, on the initial search but, we're going to do a more. Systematic. Search we have as, I mentioned rescue, dogs along. With us members, from the ATF, and police department to ensure that we're doing a systematic, search of, these these, neighborhoods okay so, we. Don't expect well. I'm, not going to say, anything. Else beyond that and we'll have additional information, if we find information. That should be reported to the media okay, thank you Mayor. Pro temp. Yes says the chief mentioned mayor Turner lands at 5 o'clock today we've been in constant communication with, the mayor regarding, this incident and he, sends his condolences to, the two families, we, have established a shelter at the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints it's located, at 40, 703, shadow Dale our, next phase is moving from the shelter, that we establish, into, temporary, housing, for those families, because, as you can see a lot of these houses around this neighborhood are, not going to be livable for a number of weeks so we've moved from the shelter stage over. To the temporary, housing stage, so folks that have issues, with the homes that they live in now please, have it or head over to 40 7:03 shadow Dale and we'll, work on the transition, into homes from there so thank you. One. Other thing before I panic what he wants anything I'm. Sorry so. Our office is working on recovery, efforts as well if you have any donations that you'd like to drop off please, do so at the Duncan YMCA, on clay road they're available to take donations and if, anyone listening has any issues, any questions, any concerns please contact my office at eight three two three nine three three, zero one zero we're, available to help thank you. Jenny wants any on just. Briefly the. State is monitoring, it I've been in contact with the DPS and the Emergency, Center in Allston, they. Are not indirectly, involved right now because, of the excellent, job of HPD. And the Houston, Fire I would. Emphasize. That this is a working-class neighborhood, and. The real tragedy, is these individuals, woke up this morning, needing. Resources. That quite frankly most of them do not have so. I would reach out to the faith community, the, Salvation. Army Red Cross, is present, and, I think this is we're going to require a community. Effort not only our agencies, but. Neighborhoods, adjoining neighborhoods, to reach out to these folks that do not have the, resources that, maybe other communities, do so just, notice, that this is a working-class. Neighborhood, and. They've. Got some real challenges but, let me say the victim assistance program, of. HPD, and Houston, fired that I've witnessed this morning. I cannot. Say enough about them and our two chiefs have, set with the families, hugged. The families, we're dealing with family, members that are in the military that need to be. Expedited. Their their travel, so. I'm. Just here to say the state is, is. Impressed, with the local, community, operation, and certain these agencies, but, I think in days to come we will do a review by the tcq. And other, agencies, if warranted, but at this point it's certainly too, early to, energize. Those agencies, and one last thing that I. Thought, I'd I'm sure I tweeted I'm a Twitter bug we. Have one one. Family, who. We believe.
Is One of the deceased employees. The. Son is a 21-year, marine, 21. Year old marine and. So you guys need to tag the United States Marine Corps at, Camp Lejeune the. Family. Is contacted, the marines and marine says until there's a 100%, certainty will not be released or, Marines we need you to really set young men to, get them home we're. A family we shouldn't have to get the. President. Involved we should have to get anybody involved we, all know what the right thing to do so please tweet at the Marine Corps that this man just, let this marine get, on a plane and get home to his family because. No matter what his family needs them and you. Can't be a family inwards, and, simplify, are in Hollywood works get that Marine home get, him on a plane get, them home to Houston but, that will open up the questions. Two, males their, two male Hispanics, a long time. Again. That's not 5% but probability. Being what it is we don't we don't have any other people who are looking for their family members their, vehicles, are here you connect all those dots but. You can't say until you definitively. Identify. Them and it's 100% but. We're not in the business keeping people false hope and so, the probability of that not being the two-meal Hispanic. Employees. Are. Pretty. Slim. There's, only two people that were, injured. There that we're aware of again. We've got cadaver dogs here we'll start doing on a secondary, search but. I can tell you that I could told them they're people of faith there, was somebody that was very close. His truck went flying and all. He ended up was with cuts that's the person that was transported. I'll. Talk to the fire chief I'm, a cop. Closed. Oh simple ADO's kay Murray Aaron aquí que. Estamos casa sympathy Lopez seguro a strong, hispanos Yabba. Muchas muchas, entre la presa compañía so, accompany kakuka familia, he, no see whose dive into menu estan las meninas, de, los Estados Unidos in Camp Lejeune in, citta, Moses Marines came and si muchacho, but a capella su familia okay Thank You chief. Yes. No, no at this time at this time we've secured the tank so they have a 2000, gallon, propylene, tank on scene the. Valving has been secured, for. The pipes that were leading into the warehouse, where the, manufacturing, was whatever process. They do so. That's. Been secured we have no no further concerns with leaks but, we do have personnel. Here on scene to monitor, that as. Well as the people who actually fill, the tank on Monday that's how we know that you, know with levels that we should have been at. No. No none of the tanks were destroyed. We had our hazmat unit, out there they did an assessment of the integrity, of those tanks they seemed to be intact, none of them were were, visibly.
Damaged, And. At this time we're not concerned with with future leaks. Right. Right, we do our, inspectors, do, is gathering they're gathering that information, we will have a full inventory of what we know the, building. Owner the business owner is here with us he's being fully cooperative, with the investigation. And, so we have no no, question that we're gonna get the full inventory and MSDSs for all the materials, that were that were present but I can't tell you right now what I can't say is that there. Is no hazard with the with the air quality okay, we, do have a hazmat on-scene, they've been monitoring throughout the day we, have had no concerns, with with, the the, quality of the air that we've been breathing at this moment. Warehouse. Look, what we can say right now is and. I don't want to get too far into the investigation but, what we can say is that the. The, building or the business, owner has, accounted. For, everybody. On. His roster there's, there's, two that that are still unaccounted for. But we won't be able to make that determination until, we physically go in there and ID, the. The victims. You. Talk about that the asking residents to look at their homes for debris but also dimension body. Parts is there any evidence. Or possibility, that the. Blast could. Done that and or is that just because, of the forcefield glass is, something you have to look at yeah. That means first of all blasts. You can talk to my TF brother when, you have these type of events they're very powerful we. Know that we have. A body part that's quite a few quite this is a way we, know that there's debris that's about a half a mile and, 20. Years ago we had a an, incident here in Houston were like a year later they. Found a, body. Part from that incident a mile away so. You. Know we'd rather be safe and be, an. Air on the side of, casting. A wide net and having our community, which is really the best, horse multiplier, for the for, the law enforcement first responders commedia, itself and, I think that was on display during Harvey that's, one let's play every day here in Houston we'd, rather than everybody gets eyes around, their property so. If there is. Something. We can recover then, do make. Assumptions, assumptions in this business if. You make, assumptions you do it and, you err on the side of that's, cast. A wide net. Thank. More. Likely yes. Cheep-cheep. Man yeah right when, do you think you'll be able we. Need to be able to actually get in the ground here and start that kind of boots-on-the-ground investigation. Well we're in the process of that now you know so we were waiting initially. Because we still had some fires that were burning, we. Decided. Not to extinguish, those because they, tell you add water you have a concern with the runoff so we decided to let those things burn before we actually started moving in into, the the hot zone right but, in, in. Parallel with that we were doing assessments, in the and. Then in the neighborhoods at this moment we've. Moved. Past the hazard phase, now we're in the recovery, phase, and we, were systematically, moving back in into, the into, the area where we believe was the was, Ground Zero let me put it that way. We know exactly where the two employees. Victims. Where, they were. No, no all we know is that we have two victims that are in the compound as. Far as where, they were within. That compound I'm not exactly sure at this moment. That's. We, only have two they're unaccounted, for we don't have anybody else looking for their family members so you, know we're, assuming that that, they were the only two. Well.
Again, You know until we conduct, the investigation, that cause in origin, all, we can tell you is is, you, know it. Was may have been a leak but that's just a huge huge assumption, at this time until we're able to get in there do the cause in origin with, the assistance of our of our partner. Agencies, we won't have a full. Determination your, honor tell you if those two employees were there because of possibility, believe that was the job no no no. No they were they. Were not because of a report of a leak there, is a gym on the facility, the, reports are that that employees, would come in early before their shift to work out so, again we're, making huge assumptions at this time let, us finish the investigation and, that way we can give you some concrete information instead, of just assumptions. We, have about a hundred and ninety nine homes in this in this area okay, we've, assessed between 180, 190 at this point the. Majority of those are have, received some sort of damage the, ones that are more proximal, to the to, the area of the, blast are damaged, heavily some of them off the foundation, so, it's a it's just a range of damage. In that location yes. Primary. Search you have any information on his condition. No not at this at, this moment we. Do know that this, was as maybe. Two hours and three hours ago we had reports that there was a 18. Patients. Throughout the the. Various hospitals, that reported. To the hospital, with complaints, reportedly. From the blast but, from the HFD standpoint, we've transported, that, that one individual, there may have been a second one transported, later but, I know for sure that we transported, one earlier this morning. We're. Going to start letting residents go back in here, shortly. They, have to have ID we, know that this is a large. Significant. Hispanic population. Some. Of them may not have IDs but, our officers, are smart enough to know how to separate, people interview, people we, have ways to identify. Them through the registration, of consul so we, want. People to come back in because we do want them to board up their, homes, if. The windows are broken and. We want them to be able to do that starting today so we will we. Will be doing that and the pilot the next 30 minutes or so. Expand, our quota suggested apartment appreciated Houston I keep some movements relaxed Muslims with a key to lose the most food to zero zero ahmo's quit, excessive inste area sit in identification, what implement trial, notification. Position will, be up with outside, producer. To every, history vehicle. But also physiology. Bang a stud in. Iraq. News opportunity, live in a robot your own thing and team work in Australia English unit in Astana adesso, aqui, estamos para, ayudar, a Sistina la comunidad de. Súplica mas que NOS últimos veinte, minutos, mas, o menos vamanos a lahar kilos las. Personas case tangos is the enters when can see, a la, vez que Ella put the bomberos de. Tus peligrosa entre la casa the 111, class focuses, is drink a cool deal las montañas, Varco putting yourself okay, alright, thank you. What, you saying. I mean, look let, me just say this about this. Just. This, this, company's been here for a long time if.
You Look at the gym, that they put together for their, employees. They care about their employees I mean they've, invested, in them you. Extend your condolences, to, them and and, I'm not gonna go into the details. But. It's they're a fun to, talk. To people about the possibility, of loved ones and the high probability that someone died but, I think that in this city that's. Led, by a mayor that really, cares about a community and it has elected officials, that care we really are a big, city that is a family and so, we, wanted to be the chief the. Fire chief the, ATF we, wanted to be there to tell the family ourselves, and the other thing that happens, is that people. Want to know right away and. Then we haven't been on a tell them why the way we wanted to be the ones that explain to them what, we have been doing because. We have to mitigate. The threat to the to the greater community, and. Then we have to move, on to deal with them but I think that the, fact that we did that. We. We want, to take victims and turn them into survivors, and we want to take victims and help, them restore their lives moving. Forward and a big part of that's how do we as a community as elected. Officials as as. Directors. How do we treat our community, and in, this city I think, we all treat each other as family so, I think they really appreciate it okay thank you all very much there will be no other briefings, here unless. It's an unless, it's a public safety issue until, until, the mayor gets here then, you were proud looking at six or seven o'clock we'll, put that out in time or about five and, we'll let you know where my life they'll be here. Ending. Up a very lengthy briefing. From, the police chief art acevedo, the police chief Sam Pena and a Fred melon house key of the ATF, so they are all investigating. This explosion, that happened at about 420. This morning, at Watson, grinding. And manufacturing. Just, to go over some of the details we know they say that there were two people reported, unaccounted, for and, they have recovered two bodies so. They say it is highly likely that the two people who, have died were, employees, there at Watson, that. Facility, although that is not confirmed, yet at this time they, do say that there is a shelter opened up for families that still, cannot.
Go Back to their homes and that shelter is at 40 703 shadow Dale Drive it's the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints and they will be working to get those families, into, more permanent housing, because. They said some of those families will not be able to go back to their homes for weeks two, neighborhoods, are closed. Unless, you actually live in those neighborhoods it's West Branch neighborhood, and Carver. Dale neighborhood, they say they are under heavy police, patrols, to, prevent any looting, and that, they will not allow anybody, who does not belong, in those neighborhoods inside. Those areas, and they're, looking at about 200. Homes that were damaged, some of the homes knocked, off of their foundations they. Have called in the ATF, and asked for their most elite team to help in this investigation they, say not moved because they believe there is any sort of intentional. Fire, that was set but, they say it could have been criminal if some, other company, came. In to service machines, these industries, are highly regulated and if they did something that caused that fire even if it was not intentional, that. Could be considered a criminal act so those are all things that are under investigation at, this time lastly. They said that if you live anywhere within one to two miles of this. Facility of Watson, valve, they. Said if you see any debris on your property, when you get home today if you've been at work they. Ask that you call HPD to report, anything that might be debris don't, touch it don't move it because that could be evidence that, they need to look at as part of their investigation so, mayor Turner is at a town they're expecting him to land back in Houston at about five o'clock so, they're expecting there next up date to be at about 6 or 7 p.m., tonight we'll, have updates throughout the day on air and online we, now want to return you to NBC, special report, of the impeachment trial of President Trump, this. Has been breaking news for, continuing coverage go, to click2houston.com.