Authorities: Blast that damaged Houston bar was intentional

HOUSTON (AP) — An early morning explosion that heavily damaged a bar and some homes near downtown Houston on Friday was intentionally caused, according to the Houston Fire Department.

Arson investigators did not provide other information on the cause of the blast, saying the case was still under investigation.

No one was injured in the explosion that happened shortly before 5 a.m. at Bar 5015 near the Houston Museum District.

Investigators believe no one was inside the building at the time of the blast.

Corri Babineaux, 37, who lives next to the bar, said the explosion was so strong it knocked her out of bed.

“I thought a bomb had been dropped. That’s how loud it was,” said Babineaux, who woke up to blown out windows and glass on her floors.

Paul Dorman, 43, who also lives next to the bar, said the blast caused “quite extensive damage” to the back of his house, including broken windows and cracked brick.

Firefighters who first arrived at the scene found several small fires that were quickly extinguished, said Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Alfredo Martinez.

The explosion shattered a wooden deck at the bar and sent debris onto the street.

The cause of the blast was still being determined, Martinez said.

The fire department was being assisted in its investigation by Houston police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Associated Press video journalist John Mone contributed to this report.