Watson employee files lawsuit after truck thrown 40 feet

For the first time, we’re hearing from an employee at Watson Grinding following last week’s deadly explosion. 

Sean Rangel had worked at Watson for 6 years. According to Rangel, he had been on his way to work Friday morning when the building blew up.

“I want them to own up for what they’ve done,” said Rangel. “To be responsible for what they’ve done. I have glass in both of my ears. My head is pounding. I can’t sleep. I see Frankie. I’m not good.”

Rangel says he was pulled over by police on the way to work the morning of the explosion. Apparently, his vehicle registration had expired. Now, Rangel credits those few extra minutes for saving his life.

“I wouldn’t be here,” said Rangel. “There would be 3 deaths instead of 2.”

Rangel had been parking his pickup truck when the building exploded. Two of his coworkers, Gerardo Castorena and Frank Flores, were inside.

“I see my friend Frankie at the front door,” said Rangel. “Then, all of a sudden, I see the light and felt a big push on my truck. I thought I got hit by a big speeding vehicle. Until I jumped out of the truck and looked back and it was gone.”

More than 450 buildings were damaged by the blast including roughly 35 homes that sustained major damage.

On Thursday, Harris County filed a lawsuit claiming Watson Grinding “violated numerous laws”. 

In addition, Rangel is taking legal action claiming Watson Grinding used “temporary fixes” on “leaks and maintenance” issues.

“They need to own up for what they’ve done,” said Rangel. “Quit trying to hide and have an image."

Rangel credits his coworkers with saving his life.

“They saved my life,” said Rangel. “Not just mine, but my crew. We all would have been there.”

MORE: Follow the latest local news