HOUSTON — The January 24th explosion at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing Company left two people dead and hundreds of homes damaged. Now, the company is filing for bankruptcy.
On Thursday, Watson Grinding and Manufacturing Company and Watson Valve Services filed a petition for voluntary Chapter 11 Reorganization.
According to the U.S. Courts website, a Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.
We’ve also learned this move led to the company laying off 80 employees. Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement about the decision that said in part quote, “The company’s decision must not slow the pace of the recovery or the investigation. It is important that authorities determine both the cause of the blast and hold the responsible party accountable.”
He also said he was "surprised and disappointed" by the decision and explained that city leaders have "started transparent discussions about how to prevent similar explosions in the future and to tighten regulations for chemical companies operating near homes and schools.”
When it comes to recovery efforts, it was announced earlier this week that the Small Business Association has determined that homeowners will be able to apply for a low interest loan.
The City and its partners continue to assist residents in the recovery process for #HoustonExplosion - the Small Business Association has determined that homeowners will be able to apply for a low interest loan
— HOU Public Safety (@HOUPublicSafety) February 5, 2020
The city’s department of Housing and Community Development also has a home repair program for eligible low to moderate income homeowners.
In addition, money and gift cards are being collected through a group of organizations including the Brenda and John Duncan YMCA, the City of Houston, and The Red Cross. You can learn more about the fund and donate online here.