Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner Tours Explosion Site, Visits With Residents of Damaged Homes

January 24, 2020 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner toured Watson Grinding and Manufacturing Friday evening, following an explosion that killed two men and caused extensive damage to an estimated 214 homes in surrounding neighborhoods.

While at the site, the mayor also extended his condolences to the families of plant workers Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena, who were killed in the fiery blast.

"We are fortunate more lives were not lost and more people were not injured," Mayor Turner said. "As we move forward as a city, we must think about how to protect neighborhoods, and that requires a conversation with residents, city council and other stakeholders."

The mayor praised Houston Police, Houston Fire, the Office of Emergency Management, Houston Public Works and partner agencies that assisted with the initial response to the explosion reported around 4:30 a.m. Friday. Investigators have not determined the cause of the blast.

Following a media briefing with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Council Member Amy Peck, Police Chief Art Acevedo and Fire Chief Sam Pena, the mayor walked through a northwest Houston subdivision that felt the severity of the blast.

The explosion shattered windows, damaged garage doors, cracked drywall and left the interiors of several homes in shambles.

"We will continue to work with the families who, through no fault of their own must clean up debris and repair or rebuild their homes," Mayor Turner said. "I look forward to working with Council Member Peck, who represents the area. Houston is a changing city. We need to do everything we can to keep everyone safe."

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