HOUSTON - Authorities now identify the victims from Friday’s explosion as Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena.
Houston’s Fire Department Chief, Samuel Peña, privately corrected Gerardo’s last name after the press conference.
“Our hearts go out to this community,” said Chief Peña. "Certainly, the Flores and [Castorena] families for their loss.”
According to Peña, Castorena and Flores arrived to work at Watson Grinding early on Friday to exercise in the gym.
As we learn more about the victims, we’re told that Castorena is a father of at least one, a 21-year-old Marine.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo urged people to tweet at the Marines to get Castorena’s 21-year-old son released and home to grieve.
Bobbie Gama, a close friend with Castorena, says she spoke with him on the phone just minutes before the deadly explosion.
“He was telling me something wasn’t right,” said Gama. “He goes, 'There’s a really bad smell.'"
According to Gama, Castorena told her that something inside the building was making a “hissing” sound. Gama says Castorena was waiting for someone to arrive for help and was going to call her back. Moments later, she heard the explosion and saw the reports on the news.
“When I saw the name of the company, I automatically knew it,” said Gama. “That wouldn’t have been him to not call me back.”
Two families and a community now grieving the sudden loss.
“We were supposed to go out tonight again,” said Gama. “Me and him. We will never get to that point I guess.”
According to a text message from Chief Peña late Friday night, Castorena’s son received permission to return home to grieve with his family.