Clear Lake-area home catches fire after speeding driver crashes into it, police say

Erica Simon Image
Friday, May 19, 2023
Speeding driver crashes into Clear Lake home, sparking fire, HPD says
"What's there to be angry about? These things happen," the homeowner told ABC13 as he stood outside of the now-uninhabitable home where he's lived for 30 years.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A driver lost control and crashed into a home in the Clear Lake area overnight, sparking a fire, according to police.

The homeowner was just feet away from the point of impact. His home is now uninhabitable.

The crash happened around 12:15 a.m. Friday at a home on Kelbrook Drive near Manorhill Drive, in a neighborhood near Highway 3 and El Camino Boulevard.

When Houston fire officials arrived at the home, they found a sedan crashed head-first into the front of the home. Flames were coming out of the roof, but firefighters were able to extinguish them quickly.

"When the car hit the structure, it caught fire," George Nicasio with HFD said. "We got the fire under control pretty quickly. We had some structural stability on alpha, which prevented it a little bit, but the guys did a great job."

Video from a neighbor shows the moment the car came crashing into the home.

In the midst of everything that happened, Scott Sandler still managed to smile when he spoke to ABC13. There's a big hole in the house he's lived in for 30 years, but he said he knows things could have been worse.

"If it weren't for that outer wall, things could have been more severe for me, but the outer wall slowed up a lot of the momentum," Sandler said.

The driver was treated at the scene for minor injuries. No one inside the house was hurt, HFD said.

Investigators are looking into whether or not alcohol played a factor. The driver was reportedly speeding before he lost control for unknown reasons and crashed into the house.

Neighbors described the moment of impact.

"I heard some bumping and crashing, and then I heard the big crash of the car going into the home. It really scared me. I was worried someone got hurt," Judy Verdusco said. "I grabbed my husband and said, 'Hey, let's get outside. I think there's a bad accident. We need to go help.'"

Sandler said he grabbed his three dogs and got out of the house as fast as he could. He's diabetic, so eventually crews had to go back and retrieve his medicine and wallet. He thinks his electronics and pretty much everything else is unsalvageable.

As he works with insurance, finds a hotel, and works on next steps, he's taking things in stride.

"Little bit numb, honestly, because of how much that is gone. Mostly, property interior, so, not angry. What's there to be angry about? These things happen," Sandler said.

A firefighter had to go to the hospital with a minor injury to his hand, officials said.

Given the damage, it's a miracle no one else was seriously hurt.

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