Skip to Main Content

Watson Grinding Plant Explosion Tragically Kills 2 in Northwest Houston


At least two people died tragically this morning, following a massive explosion at the Watson Grinding & Manufacturing plant in northwest Houston, Texas.

While there are also reports of multiple injuries, authorities have yet to release an official count of those hurt in connection with the blast.

Powerful Explosion Appeared on Weather Radar

The January 24th explosion at 4525 Gessner Road erupted shortly before 4:30 a.m., destroying a Watson Grinding warehouse, rocking nearby residents from their sleep, and triggering a fire that continues to smolder at this hour.

“(The explosion) knocked us all out of our bed, it was so strong,” one person told “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.

According to meteorologist Mike Iscovitz of KRIV, the powerful blast was felt 20 miles away and even appeared on weather radar.

Watson Grinding Explosion Damaged 200 Buildings

Flying debris damaged at least 200 homes and businesses, including some structures that were knocked from their foundations. A nearby strip mall also sustained heavy damage.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed two deaths within hours of the explosion. So far, it’s unclear if the deceased worked at Watson Grinding or lived in the surrounding neighborhood.

Acevedo also asked those living within a half-mile of the blast site to check their yards for debris – including body parts. But do not to touch explosion-related materials and report any findings to police.

Houston Residents Should Avoid Explosion “Hot Zone”

While a mandatory evacuation has not been ordered, authorities have warned residents to avoid a mile-long “hot zone” that borders Genard and Clay roads to the north and south and Gessner Road and Steffani Lane to the east and west. A shelter has been set up at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 4703 Shadowdale Drive for anyone leaving explosion-damaged homes.

The blast has also forced the closure of Bane and Dean elementary schools in the Cy-Fair Independent School District. Students at the district’s other schools will remain indoors today.

All schools in the Spring Branch Independent School District are open, but officials warned students and parents to expect transportation delays.

Leaking Polypropylene Tank Triggered Houston Explosion

Watson Grinding & Manufacturing was founded in 1972. The local, family-owned business manufactures valves and provides thermal-spray coatings for the energy, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer and mining industries.

According to Police Chief Acevedo, this morning’s explosion was likely triggered by a 2,000-gallon tank that had been leaking highly flammable polypropylene.

While that leak is contained, emergency crews have been unable to enter the  property because an unspecified gas is flowing into the plant. Efforts are now underway to shut off that gas.

Explosion Investigation Includes Criminal Probe

The Houston Fire Department had opened a criminal investigation into the Watson Grinding explosion, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“We have no evidence at this point … that an intentional act is involved. Having said that, part of our protocol is always to (start) a criminal investigation” in such a case, Acevedo said.

“It’s going to take days, if not weeks or months, to get a final determination of what’s going on here.”

Undefeated Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers with Billions Won: Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consultation

Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers our investigating the Watson Grinding & Manufacturing explosion in northwest Houston and will post updates as the situation develops.

In addition to being Undefeated, our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers have won over $1 billion – and Record-Setting Verdicts and Settlements — for thousands of people across Texas, Louisiana, and throughout the United States following the worst plant explosions and industrial catastrophes in recent history.

If you or someone you love were harmed in connection with the explosion, we can help.

Please call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to fill out our confidential contact form.

Our Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers will explain your rights, answer your questions, and provide all of the information you need to decide what’s best for you and your family.

Consultations are always free, and because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you won’t owe a cent unless we win your case.