Watson Grinding & Manufacturing, site of a Jan. 24 explosion in Houston that killed two workers and damaged hundreds of homes nearby, filed for bankruptcy on Monday.
A statement issued Watson Grinding CEO John Watson confirmed the legal move.
"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy and we are convinced that the best way to ensure our organization can play a positive role in the long-term recovery of this area is by remaining a viable business," he said.
This chapter of the federal bankruptcy code generally provides for reorganization, usually involving a corporation or partnership. A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.
"We are a family business and through this reorganization, we intend to save the company and protect and restore the jobs for our dedicated and hardworking team," Watson said.
At a news conference held Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, special agent Fred Milanowski said that electronic records indicates that a 2,000-gallon storage tank of flammable propylene began leaking sometime in the 24 hours before it was last refilled at 1 a.m. the day of the blast.
Any electrical arcing in the vicinity of the leak would have been enough to ignite the blast, Milanowski said.
No signs of a criminal act such as arson or sabotage has been found, Milanowski said. However, no final determination of cause has been made at this point.
The statement released by Watson Grinding says that the company "intends to marshal its assets and allow for an orderly claims process."
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