Huge explosion rips through Houston building, heard for miles around

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At least one person was taken to the hospital following the explosion, according to the Houston Fire Department.

The massive explosion early Friday damaged nearby buildings and homes, rousing frightened people from their sleep miles away and leaving one worker missing.

Houston police tweeted that officers were blocking off streets, but no evacuation was ordered. - A large explosion shook the United States city of Houston, Texas, early on Friday morning, with shocked residents woken before dawn as houses were badly damaged and glass windows blown in.

As the fire burned, a firefighter asked a KTRK-TV reporter to move away because of potential hazards.

Local and federal officials will be at the scene for the next three to four days working through the ruins to determine what caused the explosion, Acevedo said.

Pena said Friday evening that 214 homes were damaged in some way and, according to an initial rough estimate, about 50 were completely destroyed.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said early indications pointed to a leak of propylene gas, a colourless, flammable, liquefied gas with several industrial uses.

"She heard a big noise and the (grandkids) were running out of their rooms", Wilson said.

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A Houston auto restorer is anxiously awaiting a chance to visit his business, parts of which were destroyed during Friday's deadly explosion at a separate business in the city's northwest corner. Fire officials said that it has inspected almost 100 homes, and found "a lot of damage", including some houses that were forced off their foundations.

One resident told CNN affiliate KTRK that "the whole ceiling fell in" at her home.

"For me it triggered my PTSD and I thought I was back out in Afghanistan".

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the blast was felt as far away as 14 miles (22 km), based on social media reports.

Updates on the incident will be provided as authorities continue to assess the damage.

This part of Texas is home to the highest concentration of oil refineries in the nation and has experienced a series of explosions in recent years.

It wasn't immediately clear how many people need to leave their homes.

Numerous residents told the television station that their homes were damaged with broken windows and garage doors.

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