Famous Houston restaurant destroyed; Bush pledges speedy aid

Other News Materials 13 September 2008 21:29 (UTC +04:00)

One of Houston's most famous culinary landmarks, Brennan's Restaurant, was reduced to ashes in a blaze that burned out of control as Hurricane Ike battered the city early Saturday morning.

Firefighters braved the gusting winds, flying debris and airborne glass shards for hours to try to put out the fire, and then had to turn their attention to saving nearby buildings, the Houston Chronicle reported online.

The restaurant was known for its turtle soup and the dessert bananas foster.

Winds of more than 170 kilometres an hour battered the Texas coast and Houston in the early morning hours, breaking windows in its high- rise buildings and filling the flood-filled streets with broken glass.

Officials have warned residents to stay put and out of the streets until the worst can be cleared away.

An estimated 1.8 million electric customers were without power in the Houston area, meaning the number of individuals without electricity was much greater in this city of 4 million people.

A 2.5-metre storm surge hit Galveston, on the coast, then moved the 64-kilometre shipping channel into Houston, home to 15 per cent of the country's petrochemical industry.

Flood water stood at about 1.5 metres in both Galveston and Houston, MSNBC reported.

US President George Bush, after being briefed about the storm that continues to move northwards through Texas, said, "We'll be ready to help once the storm moves on.", dpa reported.