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Channelview home destroyed after man accidentally bursts compressed tank 900 feet away into neighbor's house on Avenue C

Nov 11, 2023Nov 11, 2023

CHANNELVIEW, Texas (KTRK) -- Two homes were destroyed in one freak accident on the east side of Harris County on Monday evening.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office told Eyewitness News that the call came in at about 2:30 p.m. as an explosion, but as they started asking questions, they realized a man was trying to dispose of a compressed natural gas tank when he and the tank went flying.

The compressed natural gas tank now sits in one family's front yard after leaving a crater through the roof of their home and the floor of their living room.

The homeowner, Jose Ortiz, told ABC13 he thanks God that his family was outside when this big tank dropped from the sky and into their home on Avenue C.

"Yo estoy agradecido con Dios que mi familia esta bien," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said his sister-in-law was relaxing on the hammock while their children played in the front yard when she heard a loud noise. When she opened the front door to the home, she saw it was destroyed. The tank, which has since been removed, caused a hole about six feet on the roof and the floor to cave in.

Nine hundred feet away on Sheldon Road, ABC13 met Antonio Medralo, who said the tank went flying from his yard, and it's something he never expected.

"Nadie sabe que va pasar una cosas de esas," Medralo said.

Medralo said he was tired of seeing it lying at his home since they bought it years ago and decided to use a saw to try to splice it to throw it away. Bystanders told ABC13 they heard a loud explosion and spotted sawdust, and a man, who we now know is Medralo, in the air.

Medralo, with a cut on his forehead and a scrape on his back, was seemingly almost unharmed.

"I could not begin to explain how it is that he has the minor injuries that he has and was able to walk away. I would certainly buy a lottery ticket if I were him," HCFMO Deputy Chief Mitchell Weston said.

Medralo said he feels lucky and thankful his family, and Ortiz's family are OK.

Weston said the tank was abandoned in the Medralo's yard, and Monday was the day they wanted to dispose of it, and when they cut the tank with a saw, the pressure escaped.

He says the pressure of the tank was so powerful that it looked like there was an explosion at Medralo's home too. According to Weston, the tank is made of metal and fiberglass. He recommends people not cut into these tanks.

Medralo's message to the Ortiz family is he's very sorry and that this wasn't intentional. He said it's a lesson learned.

As for the Ortiz family, they're now trying to figure out where they will sleep and how they will afford to repair damages to their family home that was no fault of their own. The Ortiz family created a GoFundMe to help raise money to fix their home.

HCFMO said the explosion is a civil matter, meaning no one will be charged with a crime.

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