The series of massive explosions that rocked Tyler Welders Supply Tuesday afternoon left neighboring homes damaged as well.
The business shares a fence line with several homes, and the ones directly behind it received the worst.
Ashley Reed’s grandmother lives on Montgomery Gardens, one of the streets that was evacuated in yesterday’s incident. Reed said she had just dropped her grandmother off at the home when she got a call.
“She called me panicking, ‘I need you to come and get me the place behind my house caught on fire,’” Reed said. “Over the phone you could hear boom, boom, boom."
Reed said burnt debris flew from the site, shattering the home’s back windows. The force of the explosions even broke the glass front door.
A large, heavy piece of what now looks like twisted scrap metal sat in the front lawn.
“It flew over the house and landed in the front yard,” Reed said. “Big chunks of black plastic on the ground from the building, there was smoke all through the house."
Reed’s grandmother is without electricity but Reed said it is a miracle she is alive.
Their nextdoor neighbors are alive as well, but their trailer is completely levelled. Mareo Serrano said he was inside the home when they heard the explosions.
“We saw gas tanks on fire but suddenly there was an explosion and something hot,” Serrano said. “We came outside to evacuate and just stayed outside on the corner waiting for help.”
His mother Maura Casas said she was so distressed after hearing about the near-death call, she got sick.
“When they wouldn’t let us go to our home, we thought everything had burned up,” she said. “We thought the worst. Nobody was injured by my son lost everything, he has nothing to go on. We don’t know what we’re going to do.”
While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Sgt. Darrel Coslin with the Smith County Sheriff's Office said tanks containing welding gas ignited and exploded.