Lawsuit filed against Watson Grinding after explosion in northwest Houston; 2 killed
HOUSTON — Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed a lawsuit against Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, alleging violations of numerous laws following an explosion at the facility at 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 24.
The County Attorney’s lawsuit alleges that Watson discharged air pollutants into the atmosphere (including propylene and byproducts of combustion) when a 2,000 gallon propylene tank exploded. Two workers were killed in the blast and 450 homes and businesses were damaged. Flying glass and debris injured many residents while they slept.
The explosion killed Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena. The men were both employees of the business and had shown up early to work out at the gym on site.
Castorena Sr. was a father to three girls and a Marine son. A picture was provided of Castorena with his children and his mother. Flores was a husband, father and grandfather.
As a result of the blast, many nearby residents cannot occupy their damaged homes while others now live in damaged structures. As of this date, the emission event has not been reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or to Harris County Pollution Control.
“Watson’s use of propylene was an ultra-hazardous activity and the company failed to exercise its duty of care to protect the public,” Ryan said, “particularly when the facility is located in a neighborhood.”
Ryan is requesting a temporary restraining order immediately directing Watson Grinding to cease all operations and not resume operations at this facility until a determination is made by the City of Houston Fire Department and an independent third-party expert, as agreed by the parties and/or as appointed by the Court, completes a process hazard analysis and finds that operations will not cause further fires or explosion.
The County Attorney also wants Watson ordered not to dispose of any solid waste, unless it has been properly characterized and is disposed of at a TCEQ-permitted facility authorized to accept the waste stream and not spill or discharge any waste onto the ground or water. The County wants a detailed inventory of all substances, products, and materials located at Watson and wants Watson ordered to share any air, water or soil samples it took and their analyses of these samples.
The lawsuit alleges that due to the high degree of risk involved it Watson’s conduct, Watson’s actual and subjective constructive awareness of this risk, the fact that Watson had been made aware of the probability and extent of the potential harm that could result from engaging in such conduct on numerous occasions by numerous governmental regulatory authorities, and yet Watson still continued to operate in a reckless manner demonstrating a conscious indifference to welfare and safety of others, including employees and nearby residents, Harris County is seeking exemplary damages for Watson’s gross negligence.
“The Watson explosion occurred in the incorporated area of the largest un-zoned city in the United States,” said Ryan. “Unfortunately, City of Houston and State of Texas environmental and property use regulations do not prohibit this kind of activity in neighborhoods where children play and citizens live and work. Because of the lack of regulation, Harris County has a duty to protect its residents from future occurrences at this facility.”
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
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