HOUSTON – One of three men has been charged after fireworks were ignited inside a warehouse in east Harris County, according to the Harris County Fire Marshal Office. The wanted suspect, Alex Herrera, 28, has been charged with arson.
The incident was reported on July 4, at 10:30 p.m. at TOP DOG Fireworks Warehouse, located in the 14000 block of the East Freeway.
Officials said one of the three suspects was seen igniting the fireworks inside the store, prompting customers to panic. The ignition of the firework also caused the buildings audio and visual alarms to sound off, resulting in an emergency evacuation. Investigator said the firework ignited is called a “bursting bouquet.”
The suspects allegedly stole $200 worth of fireworks during the incident. No injuries were reported.
When the sparks are coming at them, it’s like shrapnel coming at you. It’s hot so the burn potential there,” said Cy-Fair Fire Chief Amy Ramon. “The potential for loss of human life could have been staggering.”
He added that if this had gone sideways, customers and employees not only faced the potential of being badly burned by the fireworks, they also risked being trampled in the chaos if there wasn’t a way for them to get out of the store.
“Most of these buildings I have seen are metal buildings, so if the fire gets large enough and the metal building comes down, then you’ve got a collapse so people had the potential to be injured or killed in that kind of scenario too,” Ramon said.
HCFMO released surveillance video of the incident:
TOP DOG Fireworks warehouse released the following statement:
“Thank you to law enforcement for tracking down the perpetrator. This scary incident could have been much worse. We are grateful no one was injured and the firework was contained. This emphasizes why we have so many safety precautions and we urge everyone to keep safety in mind when handling fireworks.”