Criminal mischief? Is that what we’re calling terror these days?
In what appears to be a case of criminal mischief, a punctured pipeline exploded before dawn Sunday, causing the evacuation of 250 people but no injuries or significant damage to nearby homes.
Residents near the pipeline said they were awakened around 4:45 a.m. by two explosions — a small one, then a large one — that sounded like thunder or a train or tornado. The sky turned bright orange, they said.
“My windows shook and there was a whooshing sound like a train, so I thought a tornado might be coming,” Joe Pachuca said of the explosion, roughly 30 miles northeast of Houston, just west of U.S. 59. “I grabbed my kids and said, ‘Let’s get the hell out of here.’ “
Sebastian Perez, a resident who stuck around to videotape the fire before being evacuated, described the scene as “a big glow, with flames shooting way up there, above the trees.”
The fire, with dark smoke that could be seen for miles, was out by 11 a.m. Two hours later, people were allowed to return to their homes in the Timberland Estates area and Silver Trails subdivision.