Massive Warehouse Fire in Houston Under Control: Officials

The fire department contained the fire by mid-afternoon, but urged residents to be careful

A massive fire at a warehouse complex in Houston that spewed black smoke and hazardous materials Thursday was under control, according to fire officials, who also lifted a shelter in place advisory to residents. 

The fire was under control by mid-afternoon, the Houston Fire Department said in a statement. While there were no reported injuries, residents were still urged to precautions.

"Although the fire threat is over, the HFD would like to advise all citizens to avoid water run-off to nearby areas," the statement said. "The area of Spring Branch Creek and surrounding ditches and culverts should be avoided until authorities complete testing and deem them safe."

The four-alarm fire ignited just before 10 a.m. in the back yard of a nearby home, then jumped to an industrial area at 1700 Laverne Street, NBC affiliate KPRC reported. Fire officials told KPRC the home served as an auto service company.

Authorities declared a "hazardous material incident" as flames ripped through the industrial complex, which houses several businesses, including a gun store, fire officials said. Aerial footage showed explosions erupting as plumes of smoke poured from the roof.

The complex is also home to Custom Packaging and Filling, which fills and labels containers of "powders, granules, liquids, and gels," according to KPRC and the company's website.

Fire officials said they were working with the property owners to "identify the products of combustion" but that petroleum and pesticides may have been involved.

The shelter in place advisory for Spring Branch residents was lifted by mid-afternoon, according to the Houston Fire Department. Fire officials urged residents to take precautions as they fought the fire. An elementary school was evacuated, along with nearby businesses, KPRC reported.

Residents were allowed to leave their homes again around 2 p.m. Thursday but were asked to avoid the industrial complex, where 175 firefighters from 64 units doused the flames.

No injuries were reported. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze, which erupted on a gusty day with temperatures in the 70s.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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