Galena Park Vape Shop firebombed by unknown assailants


GALENA PARK — The Galena Park Police Department is investigating a fire that was started by masked intruders at a smoke shop last weekend.

The store owner and a cashier were inside when the store went up in flames.

Your Vape House cashier Merlyn Rodriguez said she doesn’t understand why anyone would do what they did — putting her life at risk.

“The fire got from here all the way up and that’s when I knew I couldn’t do anything,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said two masked men came into the store and started the fire by throwing a fire-bomb.

“Within a second or two, there was fire everywhere because this is carpet. So, I didn’t know what to do. And while he was walking out, he shoved something by the door and that was on fire, too,” Rodriguez said.

She quickly kicked the door open to escape.

“I had not a single scratch on my body when I walked out. It is unbelievable. It’s simply a miracle. Only God could have done that,” she said.

Store owner Sami Durrani has been in business since 2021. He said he’s never had issues with customers or anyone in the community.

“I don’t understand what happened. We are still in shock,” Durrani said.

Durrani said he thinks it was a targeted attack.

“A motive was to destroy this business so I can get out of here,” he said.

Durrani said the suspects took nothing and everything all at once. Yet, he’s still thankful.

“I lost my merchandise, I lost my business, but it would have been more devastating for me if somebody would have been injured or killed,” he said.

Rodriguez said she loves the shop like it’s her own.

“For me to walk in this and see there’s nothing here, it hurts because as much as he lost his business, I lost my job,” she said.

Both of them aren’t sure of their next steps.

“It’s in bad shape, you know. It will take me a lot of money to restart this business and I don’t think, right now, I can do that,” Durrani said. “All I want to know is why they did this.”

Due to the nature of the crime, the Galena Park PD said it is working with the Harris County Fire Marshal and the ATF. Investigators are still in the process of reviewing surveillance video of the incident.