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2 Dead in Industrial Building Explosion in Houston

Mahita Gajanan

Two people are dead after a building explosion in Houston damaged homes and scattered debris in the surrounding area early Friday morning.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo said a criminal investigation has been opened into the explosion, though officials don’t believe it was intentional, the Associated Press reports.

At least one person was taken to the hospital following the explosion, according to the Houston Fire Department.

The explosion rocked a building the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, an industrial facility that provides machining and thermal spray coatings, around 4:30 a.m., according to reports in the AP and local media.

A video posted to Twitter from a camera mounted to a window facing the area of the explosion showed a large flash of light followed by flames.

Houston police said they were blocking off streets in the area surrounding the site of the explosion. Houston police chief Art Acevedo warned people to avoid inhalation explosion “out of an over abundance of caution” on Twitter. Acevedo said debris from the explosion extended about half a mile.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the explosion. Residents in the area near the blast said the explosion broke windows, doors and garage doors, KTRK reports.