HOUSTON – Lawyers representing the residents who are suing Watson Grinding and Manufacturing filed a restraining order to prevent the city from cleaning up any evidence from a blast that left two people dead and hundreds of homes damaged beyond repair.
The lawyers presented their order to a judge at a hearing Thursday morning where they asked for the street to be kept as is in order for them to conduct their own, independent investigation without compromising any critical evidence.
To the lawyers’ surprise, the city fought that order in Thursday morning’s hearing, but ultimately the temporary restraining order was granted to continue blocking a portion of Steffani lane, which sits adjacent to the site of last week’s explosion.
Robert Kwok, who is the attorney representing the 130 residents impacted by the devastation of the explosion, is calling Thursday’s hearing a win
“Now our experts can go in, do their investigation and figure out the cause and origin of this explosion that happened,” Kwok said.
Mohamed Aziz, who is representing the Frank Flores family, said that he, Kwok and several other lawyers in the courtroom were surprised by the city’s push back.
“It is ridiculous the city won’t help us or even help the investigation," Aziz said. “We aren’t even asking for their help. We just for them to stay out of the way.”
When KPRC 2 reporter Sally Mamdooh tried to get a comment from the city, all the representatives said was that they “could not comment at this time.”
During the hearing, the city told the judge the reason they oppose the order is that “the city had nothing to do with this explosion and closing the road longer could become costly and pose a safety issue.”
Lee Thweat and attorney who represents Houston Corvette Services -- a business that sits on Steffani lane and was damaged by the explosion -- said the city’s position just doesn’t make sense.
“Two families have lost their loved ones," Thweat said. “Businesses have been totally destroyed and for the city attorney’s office to come in here and say, ‘Well, we just need to work that out later,’ is crazy.”