Shelter-in-place lifted after explosion in Northeast Harris County

Lightning strike ignites tanker explosion, forces shelter-in-place

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - A shelter-in-place issued Saturday afternoon for some Northeast Harris County residents, has been lifted.

It was lifted just before 3 p.m. Saturday after lightning struck a storage tank and sent the tank flying into the roadway.

The Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department said the explosion was reported around 12:55 p.m. Saturday, and it appeared to be caused by a lightning strike.

Officials said the tank was holding methyl mercaptan. It also struck a vehicle in the 6000 block of Atascocita Road.

"It was a metering station. The tank that actually exploded was a methyl mercaptan tank," said Ernest Bezdek with the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department. "That's the formula that they put in the natural gas so that it smells and you can smell it when you have a leak, and that was the actual chemical that was inside the tank."

Officials said they issued a shelter in place order because of a natural gas leak that occurred as a result of the explosion.

No injuries were reported.

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