By Joe Southern
An early morning explosion ripped apart the back half of an underground utilities company warehouse in Stafford Thursday, causing plenty of damage but no injuries.
Investigators with the Stafford Fire Department and insurance companies are sifting through the ruins of the secluded building on Brand Lane near Highway 90 to try and determine the exact cause for the blast and ensuing fire. The initial report is that it was caused by leaking gas (probably propane) from a competition cooking trailer stored in the Jimerson Underground facility.
“It was accidental in nature,” said Fire Chief Larry Dicamillo.
On site Thursday morning, business owner Alicia Jimerson was still in a state of shock while trying to sort things out.
“I’m just thankful nobody was hurt,” she said.
There were a few vehicles stored in the warehouse that were damaged, including the trailer. Nearby buildings, farm animals and even a citrus grove appeared to be unharmed, although there were unconfirmed reports of broken windows and objects knocked off walls nearby.
Stafford Fire Capt. Mason Mills, who was awakened and brought on duty early, said the police department was first called after the blast. He said they were looking for the source of the explosion and there were car alarms going off all over.
“They saw a whole bunch of smoke and called the fire department out,” he said.
Five units responded, three from Stafford and one each from Missouri City and Sugar Land.
He said the fire was quickly extinguished.
“They’re just now starting the investigation with the sun up,” Mills said. “It’s going to be extensive. There is quite a lot of damage.”
Jimerson praised the first responders for their quick action.
“I’m thankful and pleased that the fire department got out here and took care of it,” she said.
She reiterated her relief that no one was in the building at the time.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt. The stuff inside can be replaced,” she said.