A warehouse fire burns in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. Click2Houston
BY ERIK ORTIZ and ALEXANDRA BACALLAO, NBC News
(NBC News) - Fire crews on Thursday were holding back a massive blaze at a gun warehouse in Houston that caused the release of hazardous materials and fireballs to shoot into the sky, officials said.
The 4-alarm inferno at A-1 Custom Packaging started just before 10 a.m. local time in the Spring Branch neighborhood. It began as a house fire before spreading swiftly to the warehouse, police told NBC News. No injuries were immediately reported.
Houston officials believed there was ammunition and chemicals, with a possibility of igniting and exploding at the scene, where about 175 firefighters were dispatched.
People in the area were being asked to shelter in place, although a nearby elementary school and businesses were being evacuated. Thick black plumes of smoke filling the skies were captured by people on video amid the evacuations.
Houston Senior Fire Capt. Ruy Lozano said at least three structures were "significantly involved" as the fire continued burning after noon.
"There's a lot of melting going on," he told reporters.
Lozano said the fire escalated quickly. He could not say what product was specifically causing the combustion at the scene, but that the incident involved hazardous materials.
Crews appeared to be gaining ground as they used foam to douse the flames and keep the hot spots from rekindling.
Monday, August 21 2017 4:21 AM EDT2017-08-21 08:21:48 GMT
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