Owner of bar where intentional explosion happened in 'disbelief'

HOUSTON, Texas -- Evidence in the aftermath of an explosion at a bar in Houston's Third Ward is pointing to the blast being intentionally set, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena confirmed Friday afternoon.

Pena said investigators are looking into the possibility of an "accelerant" being used as part of the explosion of Bar 5015 early Friday morning. He added fumes from that built up underneath the deck of the business, and multiple gas containers were found near the scene. HFD is now looking into whether the containers were used in the fire.

The person behind the blast could face arson charges, according to Pena.

"First, it was just disbelief," bar owner, Steven Rodgers, said in exclusive interview with ABC13.

Earlier, Pena told ABC13 that investigators found signs of some type of gas build-up in the deck area of the business located on Almeda Road at Wichita Street.

Accelerant-sniffing dogs hit on a couple of spots, leading them to find that gasoline may have been involved, Pena also said.
The fire department is still looking for the cause and origin, Pena added. Investigators were also looking at security camera footage at the time of the incident.

Houston Fire Department arson investigators, as well as investigators from HPD, the FBI, and the ATF, are investigating. The explosion was first reported at 4:55 a.m.

Shortly after receiving a call of the incident, firefighters found a debris field and multiple small spot fires when they arrived at the business, HFD said. Those fires were put out within five minutes.

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Local surveillance video captured the moment the bar exploded with a flash of light that illuminated the frame.



Video from the scene shows debris scattered in the street, with multiple emergency response vehicles on the scene.

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"BOOM": Hear what neighbors have to say about the moment a south Houston bar exploded, shaking their homes and busting their windows.


Neighbors that live close to the bar reported shattered glass and photos falling off the walls in their homes.

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The 5000 block of Almeda is covered in debris as authorities look for what caused the explosion early Friday.



Supporters have set up a fundraiser to help pay to rebuild the business.

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