Western International explosion

Update from Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes


On July 17 at 6:09 a.m., the Austin County Sheriff’s Office received a called from Western International Gas Company located at 7173 Highway 159 in Bellville, reporting an explosion and fire in their gas plant.

Bellville Fire and Austin County sheriff’s deputies responded to the call. When Bellville Fire and sheriff’s deputies arrived, Bellville fire chief called for other fire departments to respond and help with the fire. Sheriff’s deputies then closed Highway 159 in front of the gas plant. Sheriff’s deputies then evacuated all residents that lived within one mile of the gas plant as requested by Bellville fire chief. At mid-morning, fire personnel had the fire under control and all was well. At late morning, the fire flared up with more explosions and all persons evacuated the fire scene. Fire personnel then decided it would be safe to let the fire burn itself out and extend the evacuation radius to five miles.

Sheriff’s deputies, with help of other law enforcement agencies, evacuated residents within a five-mile radius of the gas plant. Later that day, fire personnel were able to return to the fire scene and control the fire. At that time, the evacuation radius was reduced to one mile. At approximately 6 p.m. the one mile evacuation radius was canceled and all residents were allowed to return home. At approximately 10 p.m. that night, the fire was out and Highway 159 was opened.

Because of the professionalism of the fire personnel, sheriff’s deputies, responding law enforcement, managers and employees of Western International Gas, there were no injuries to anyone.

The Austin County Sheriff’s Office greatly appreciates all the help from the Wallis Police Department, San Felipe Police Department, Sealy Police Department, Bellville Police Department, State of Texas Game Wardens, Texas Highway Patrol, Waller County Sheriff’s Office, Austin County EMS and all fire departments that responded.


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Brigid Stevenson

Congratulations and thanks to all first responders for being there and a job well done. Your professionalism and courage served the surrounding communities well.

God Blessand stay safe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018