According to the Galveston County Sheriff's Office, the blast happened at Gulf Coast Trawl Doors in the 900 block of Lawrence Road. Witnesses say the shop owner was welding on a gas tank of a small off-shore boat at the time of the accident.
Deputies found the man with severe burns. He was taken to Clear Lake Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Friends and family are devastated.
"He did so much for everybody around here. He always had such a positive attitude," said Chandler Randall, a family friend. "It really doesn't make a lot of sense, that's his life work. As much as I hate to say it, he went out doing what he loved."
The sheriff's office says no foul play is suspected.
OSHA sent representatives to the scene and will be conducting a separate investigation.
The man's name has not been released.