A large explosion shook the city of Houston, Texas - Media

A large explosion shook the city of Houston, Texas, early on Friday morning, US media reported, with the noise waking many residents before dawn

The Houston Chronicle reported that police were responding to the explosion and warned all traffic to avoid the area in the west of the city.

At least one person was injured by the blast, that also shattered windows and created a noise heard by people across a wide area, officials and media said.

Smoke and flames could be seen billowing from the area around the blast and emergency vehicles converged on the area.

"This is still an active scene. Avoid the area," Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said on Twitter.

"We will advise of the possible cause of the explosion as soon as we have concrete info," he said.

Nearly every house in the area had extensive damage, including shattered windows and damaged garage doors, the local KPRC 2 TV news channel reported on its website.

"(The explosion) knocked us all out of our bed, it was so strong," resident Mark Brady told KPRC.

"It busted out every window in our house. It busted everybody's garage door in around here ... and closer toward the explosion over here, it busted people's roofs in and walls in and we don't know what it is ... It's a warzone over here."

A hazardous materials team was responding to the area and at least one person was taken to the hospital, the Houston Fire Department said on Twitter.

No evacuation order has been given at this [email protected] HazMat team is on scene and monitoring.

CNN reported a fiery explosion erupted at about 4.15am, adding that many people in the local area felt buildings shake.

The Houston Chronicle reported that police were responding to the explosion and warned all traffic to avoid the area in the west of the city.

Explosion of building: 4500 Gessner. Patrol units blocking off streets in the area. HFD responding. #hounews #houtraffic CC8

Building Explosion 4500 Gessner: HPD command post at Tanner @ Gessner. All traffic avoid hot zone between Gessner, Genard, Sefani & Clay Rd. #houtraffic #hounews CC8

Police chief Art Acevedo said at about 5.45am local time that flames and small explosions were still taking place at the building, and warned people to avoid exposure until further notice.

Increases flames and small explosions at plant continue per @houstonpolice airship. Please avoid exposure if at possible until further notice.

In a follow-up tweet, Mr Acevedo said that the debris field spanned about 800m, with no known inhalation hazard.

Debris field out here is about half a mile. No inhalation known hazard. More to follow.

According to ABC13, the explosion occurred at about 4.25am local time at what appeared to be the premises of Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, a machining and manufacturing company.

The company did not respond to a phone call from Reuters.

A large debris pile was also reported in the area between Gessner and Steffani Lane in the Westbranch neighborhood, said ABC13.

Houston police tweeted that a building explosion took place at 4500 Gessner, and said that patrol units were blocking off the area.

Joey Charpentier, a resident of Centrepark Drive, Houston, posted a video that his camera, mounted on a window in his home, recorded of the blast.

The camera falls over after the explosion, which Charpentier said was due to the window breaking.

Large explosion in Houston: US media

Joey [email protected]
Replying to @KHOU
I have video from cam mounted on our window. Gessner and Clay facing north.

Mike Iscovitz, a meteorologist with the local Fox News channel, said the huge blast had shown up on local weather radar and was felt more than 32 km away.

"Radar clearly shows this brief FLASH of reflectivity from NW Houston," he tweeted. 

Here's another surreal view of this morning's #explosion as seen on radar. The explosion in Northwest #Houston was likely from a compressed liquified gas tank and these types of blast waves can travel tens of miles and often shatter windows and shake buildings.

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