Overnight storms cause partial building collapse in east Houston

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Overnight storms cause partial building collapse in E Houston
Strong "microburst" winds appear to have peeled back the roof of a building off the East Freeway. Surprisingly, no other nearby structures were damaged.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The storms that blew through overnight caused a lot of damage in some areas, including a fire in Sugar Land and structural damage in east Houston.

In Sugar Land, a lightning strike is believed to have sparked a house fire on Buffalo Springs Court in Greatwood.

A neighbor got the family of four out in time. They didn't even know their home was on fire.

In east Houston at the East Freeway and Fidelity, the roof of a structure was peeled back.

Firefighters believe the damage may have been caused by a microburst around midnight.

ABC13 meteorologist Elita Loresca explained that microbursts of wind happen when horizontal winds from the base of a thunderstorm spread out, causing widespread damage.

The winds can reach up to two-and-a-half miles and can sometimes be equal to, if not stronger than, the power of some tornadoes.

The microburst caused so much damage, the owner of the insulation company that occupies the building said he's concerned about the structure.

It caused the roof of the insulation company to peel back, the building to partially collapse and sprinklers to go off.

An employee described the roof as looking like someone opened a can of sardines.

Cinderblocks also fell from the roof, causing damage to vehicles on the ground.

Inside the building, parts of the ceiling were left dangling from the roof.

WEDNESDAY'S FORECAST: Quieter Wednesday, keeping an eye on tropical low in Gulf

An employee told ABC13 they're thankful the storm didn't happen during the day.

"Sometimes we do get that heavy weather during the day," Maria Alanis said. "It gets really bad, so we're lucky it was not during business hours."

There are a number of other businesses and an apartment complex nearby, but shockingly, no other damage was reported.

"It seems to be an isolated incident. No other buildings around here are damaged," HFD District Chief Lummus said. "That whole structure, there's no other damage, from the rooftop, we can see that stuff was peeled back. That's usually indication of wind damage."

The business is waiting for a structural engineer to take a look at the building and assess the damage.

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