More than 200 homes damaged by northwest Houston explosion

An explosion at Watson Grinding Manufacturing left over 200 homes with broken windows, splintered door frames, and crumpled garage doors in a northwest Houston community Friday, according to City of Houston officials.

“I didn’t think we had anything around here, to be honest, in this area that would cause something like that to happen,” said Ivan Lambert, a homeowner on Fallen Bough Drive who lives two blocks from the explosion scene.

He says he was jarred awake at 4:25 a.m.

“The bed lifts up and falls back down,” recalled Lambert. “My bed weighs about 300 pounds—big huge bed—and then we hear this big boom.”

A glass company visited his home Friday morning, replacing seven shattered windows on the back side of his house.

He says at first he thought he was hearing a plane crash until he went outside and didn’t see a plane.

“No plane—you figure okay you’re under attack or something like that,” said Lambert.

Turns out the explosion was at a company he didn’t even know was in his neighborhood. Watson Grinding and Manufacturing Company has been in business since 1972–-locally owned by John Watson.

The company’s YouTube channel gives an insider look at the work done there, including the manufacture of thermal spray coatings, machine parts like shafts, valves and pump components, and metal grinding.

The company takes up parts of Gessner Road and Steffani Lane—nestled between the Westbranch and Carverdale neighborhoods.

“I had seen it before, but it never goes through your mind that this might happen,” said Javier Martinez who lives on Sunwood Drive, two blocks from the explosion scene. “It’s not like you’re near the chemical plants. Over there you kind of expect that.”

His home was devastated by the blast.

“The house shifted off the foundation, so it’s not livable right now,” said Martinez

FOX 26 tried to get ahold of the owners and staff at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing but did not immediately hear back from any company representatives.