Houston Mayor says fatal plant explosion is a 'call to action'

Houston, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called Friday's explosion at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing a 'call to action.'

In a telephone interview with ABC13 from Washington, D.C., Turner said he was briefed early Friday morning on the deadly blast.

Before rushing back to Houston, Turner told ABC 13, "This is a call to action on all of us to carefully look at what we can do to mitigate future risk and to put communities in a safer area."

RELATED: 2 killed in explosion felt across Houston

It's not immediately clear what Turner can do to fix this problem. Houston has no zoning and state law limits the city's ability to regulate chemical and industrial sites.

Following a May 2016 fire at A1 Custom Packaging on Spring Branch Drive, city leaders told 13 Investigates that the city tried twice at the state legislature to at least increase awareness of what chemicals are stored at industrial facilities within city limits.

The city argued first responders and neighbors both need to know what is stored in the midst of their neighborhoods. Both efforts failed in Austin.

RELATED: Four-alarm fire destroys warehouse in NW Houston

More recently, the Mayor's public pressure campaign aimed at a proposed concrete batch plant was more successful. The city has no authority to forbid the plant, but under mounting public pressure the company withdrew its application.

Follow Ted Oberg on Facebook and Twitter.

For the latest investigations, follow Ted on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a tip for Ted Oberg? A problem to solve? Get in touch with us on our tip page, or send a tip below. (On mobile? You can open our form by tapping here.)
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.