HOUSTON – Families in northwest Houston continue to recover after an explosion that left two people dead and more than 200 homes damaged.
Houston Fire Department officials have identified the victims as Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena Sr. They were both employees of Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, where the blast happened on Jan. 24.
My deepest condolences to the families of Mr Frank Flores and Mr Gerardo Castorena on their terrible loss. Our collective hearts are with you
— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) January 25, 2020
We are still learning more about them, but we do know that a fundraiser was set up on Facebook for Mr. Castorena. The page says the money was going towards his funeral and travel expenses for his son who is a marine.
Besides those killed, twenty people were injured and this explosion caused damage to more than 200 homes. Officials say around 50 of those homes were destroyed.
The Red Cross shelter closed Sunday at noon after the organization helped people make recovery plans and find a places to stay for the time being.
Truly appreciate the great work done by @RedCrossTXGC Disaster Assessment Team & @TeamRubicon to assist those whose homes were damaged by Friday’s blast. God Bless all the volunteers. pic.twitter.com/kE7xeKYgPX
— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) January 26, 2020
Local attorney, Lee Thweatt, says that three lawsuits have been filed against the company so far and he expects many more to follow.
He hosted a meeting Sunday afternoon in hopes of helping people understand what to do next. First off, he says, go through insurance if you have it.
“You have coverages, there will be a back and forth between you and your insurance company that will hopefully come to an agreed and fair number as to what that loss will be and that is probably the quickest and easiest way for you to be made whole,” explained Thweatt.
Thweatt went on to encourage residents to document everything they can. Even though insurance adjusters will take pictures of damage, he says its important to take your own pictures of your damaged property.