Warehouse in NE Harris Co. goes up in flames

Images from the warehouse fire in NE Harris County

July 12, 2011 9:54:08 AM PDT
Exploding propane tanks fueled a big warehouse fire in northeast Harris County this morning. Now the search is on for what went wrong. The fire broke out at Dot Metal Products, a division of Gibralter Industries, on Aldine Bender near JFK just before 7am.

Inside are metal roofing materials. Firefighters tell us they found a mobile home unit that was being used as an office, along with several pallets of cardboard, and propane tanks. There are two kinds of garage doors on either side of the warehouse and when fire crews opened one of those doors the tanks exploded.

Eleven fire departments shuttled in water to eventually knock down the flames. The fire chief says about 70 percent of the 40,000 square foot building appears to be destroyed. Workers at surrounding companies were evacuated as a precaution.

"I saw a lot of smoke when I was driving down but as I approached I saw little flames coming out the roof," said eyewitness Luis Garcia.

"When I approached my office on the other side of the fence about 6:30am, there was smoke coming out of the top of the building," said witness Dennis McCorvy. "At that time we called the fire department and then when the fire department got here about 10 'til 7:00, there were several explosions from the propane bottles from the inside."

"Any early morning fire in a building like this is different, I'd say," said Eastex Fire Department Chief Bryan Harris.

Dot Metal leases this building. In fact, they are in the process of moving to a nearby location. We spoke with the land owner, who says they'll have to repair and rebuild in order to re-lease the space.

The fire marshal's office picks up the investigation from here. There was no damage to the surrounding buildings and no injuries were reported.

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