Today marks 2 years since deadly Watson Grinding and Manufacturing explosion rocked Spring Branch

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Monday, January 24, 2022
Today marks 2 years since deadly explosion rocked Spring Branch
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Although many homes have been repaired and families have moved back in, the scars of the deadly blast can still be found.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two years ago this morning, ABC13 brought you the first video of flames and debris littering a Spring Branch neighborhood.

So many residents called the ABC13 newsroom that morning after feeling the explosion at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing.

ABC13's Jeff Ehling was the first reporter on the scene. He went back to the neighborhood that was nearly decimated two years ago.

"I will never forget when the explosion happened. We were nine miles away getting ready for a live shot at 4:30 in the morning when we heard the explosion and felt the shock wave," Jeff recalled. "We knew something big had exploded, but we were shocked to see the damage that day."

Debris from the company littered the roads for at least a mile.

The plant was still on fire as Jeff was on the way to the factory.

"We saw the flames, saw parts of the building gone, and then, we saw the homes in the area around the blast," he said.

RELATED: Neighbors reflect on Spring Branch explosion nearly 2 years later

Many of the houses suffered extreme damage, and some were beyond repair. Three people were killed in the explosion.

Two years later, some homes have been repaired, but still show the signs of what happened that day. Other homes are still vacant.

Those who live in the neighborhood still carry with them the anxiety and fear that came ripping through their lives that morning.

"Like it was a bomb or something. And the glass just came all over us and everything, and I got up and seen the house was a total wreck, destroyed," Christine Chuma recalled. "Cabinets were opened. I mean, glass was everywhere. All the glass broken. The garage door was all bent up. The ceiling was down. It was crazy."

There is hope two years later. Chuma is back in a new home, and even met her new husband while living in temporary housing.

After the explosion, the City of Houston tightened up its regulatory and review process in the hopes that the disaster is never repeated.

For more on this story, follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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