WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (KUNA) -- At least two people have been killed in a massive explosion at a machine and manufacturing company that occurred in northwest Houston, Texas, Friday, also damaging several homes.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a briefing "we do have confirmed fatalities in this case, at least two confirmed fatalities."
He added that the Houston police department has initiated a "criminal investigation" but that there is "no reason to believe that terrorism is involved," or that "an intentional act is involved."
"Having said that, when you have this kind of a type of incident, part of our protocol is to always conduct a criminal investigation," Acevedo noted.
Meanwhile, the Houston Fire Department tweeted "local hospitals indicate 18 people have self-reported to ER's complaining of minor injuries associated with the explosion .. such as breathing problems and cuts."
It added "Health Department tests show there is no indication of any air quality concerns."
For his part, the Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner tweeted "from all indications the air is fine but we will continue to monitor. The chemical lines have been cut off at the facility. Hazard appears to be contained and we will keep the public advised."
The City of Houston tweeted that a "temporary staging area for residents displaced by the Watson Grinding & Manufacturing Co. explosion has been established." (end)