‘I could’ve died’: Natural gas tank flies 900 feet, crashing through mobile home after man cut into it in Channelview

CHANNELVIEW, Texas – Surveillance video from a neighborhood in Channelview shows the exact moments when one resident says he tried to cut up a natural gas tank to get it out of his yard, causing a small explosion.

Antonio Medrano said he got tired of looking at the tank but had no idea it was filled with gas or the extreme consequences of cutting into it.

“Much like a balloon on a much larger scale, the cylinder was able to take off from the pressure that was escaping from it. And the pressure was so powerful, it resulted [in some] damage to the home that looks similar to an explosion,” said Mitchell Weston with the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Medrano and the tank were both catapulted into the air.

He says it happened so fast, he didn’t feel a thing.

His son Anthony, who was inside, says he had just left his bedroom when the wall was ripped off.

”I could’ve died,” Anthony said.

Jose Ortiz lives in the mobile home where the tank landed about 900 feet away from Medrano. He said he’s also lucky to be alive.

Ortiz says he was outside when he heard a loud bang and opened the door to find the inside of his home destroyed.

Ortiz lives there with his wife and five children.

He says he is so happy that no one was inside at the time because they would’ve likely been in the living room where that tank ripped through the ceiling and into the floor.

Medrano was checked out for minor injuries, and officials said no one else was harmed.

As both the Medrano and Ortiz families figure out where they’re going to live, fire officials offer advice.

“If you have a gas tank that you don’t know about, certainly do not cut into it,” Weston said.

About the Author:

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.