2 dead in gas explosion that destroyed building, caused ‘significant’ damage to homes

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The owner of the business says the blast was a propylene gas explosion.

Two people were killed in a gas explosion at a manufacturing warehouse that sent shock waves across northwest Houston early Friday morning, authorities said.

Multiple homes and a strip mall nearby also sustained “significant damage” in the blast, which happened around 4:30 a.m. local time, Samuel Pena, of the Houston Fire Department, said at a press conference.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a full arson investigation has been launched, but noted that there is no reason to believe it was terror-related or an intentional act. He said it is part of the protocol to conduct an investigation and it will be handled by multiple agencies.

Authorities urged residents who felt the blast to search around their homes for debris and body parts. Acevedo warned the public not to touch either if they do find them, but instead called Houston police.

Drones are being brought in to conduct a grid search and inspect roofs for debris or body parts.

The explosion appeared to come from a 2,000 gallon tank of propylene that was leaking, according to Pena.

He said the leak has been secured and there are no concerns with air quality at this time.

Authorities are waiting for a fire that was sparked by the explosion to burn out before conducting their primary and secondary searches.

The fire is contained, but firefighters are not extinguishing it themselves with water to avoid creating a runoff or other hazards, according to Pena.

Nearby residents between Gessner Road and Steffani Lane in Houston’s Westbranch neighborhood reported doors being blown off their hinges, baseboards blown off and storm doors shattered, according to Houston ABC station KTRK. The force of the blast rattled windows for miles around.

Temporary shelters were set up at 4703 Shadowdale Drive.

ABC News’ Rebecca Patterson contributed to this report.

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