WRB Refining Accident Attorneys

Helping Workers Injured at Borger Refinery & Wood River Refinery

A 50/50 partnership between Phillips 66 and Cenovus Energy, WRB Refining LP is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company was founded in 2006 and has a total of 144 employees and an estimated annual revenue of about $17.8 million, as of 2021. WRB Refining operates a refinery in Borger, Texas and another in Roxana, Illinois.

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Built in 1926, the Borger Refinery is located about 50 miles northeast of Amarillo, Texas. It processes crude oil and natural gas liquids, which are delivered by pipeline from Canada and Texas, namely the Texas Panhandle and West Texas. The Borger Refinery covers about 6,000 acres and includes a workforce of over 920 people, including employees and on-site contractors. It has the capacity to process 22,500 barrels per day. Refined products are moved through pipelines to the Midcontinent Region, including West Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.

The Wood River Refinery is located in Roxana, Illinois and was originally built in 1917. It sits on about 2,000 acres approximately 15 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The Wood River Refinery processes foreign and domestic crude oil to produce gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel as well as products like asphalt, coke, and petrochemical feedstocks, which are used to manufacture chemicals, rubber, and plastics. The refinery has a workforce of over 1,100 employees and on-site contractors.

Explosion & Fire at Wood River Refinery: February 10, 2019

On the afternoon of February 9, 2019, residents of Roxana, Illinois reported hearing an explosion. According to a spokesperson for the Wood River Refinery, “an incident” resulted in a fire in a process unit at the facility. One man was taken to the hospital to be treated for an injury.

Videos on social media show flames shooting into the air, creating a thick column of black smoke.

Wood River Refinery Railroad Tank Car Chemical Leak: June 2 & 3, 2021

On the afternoon of June 2, 2021, a railroad tank car that was carrying spent sulfuric acid from the Wood River Refinery sprung a leak, releasing the toxin into the air. The car was one of four that had been loaded onto a train several days earlier. It was sitting on the tracks near Hartford and Wood River when a pressure relief disk ruptured, venting sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. Later that evening, two of the other railcars began venting acid. The fourth started releasing sulfuric acid into the air the following morning.

Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive and can explode when in its concentrated form. If inhaled, it can cause severe nose and throat irritation as well as breathing problems. If it comes into contact with the skin or eyes, it can cause serious burns and blindness. It can even burn holes in the stomach if swallowed.

One person, an employee of the Kansas City Southern Railway, was injured when the first railcar started leaking sulfuric acid. He was taken to the hospital for treatment. At 4:30 am on June 3, the Wood River Fire Department issued a shelter in place order for Wood River and Roxana. Seven local fire departments and a HAZMAT team, plus representatives from the EPA, arrived on the scene to try to stop the leaks.

Accidents & Explosions at the Borger Refinery

The Borger Refinery has seen catastrophic explosions and accidents over the years:

  • 9 Killed in Explosion at Borger Refinery: February 22, 1961 
    Nine workers were killed and another was injured in explosion that rocked the Borger Refinery on February 22, 1961. An explosion and fire at the facility’s fractionating unit claimed the workers’ lives, according to a local newspaper article.
  • Explosion Rocks the Texas Panhandle: January 21, 1980 
    About 200 residents were displaced and 15 were injured in a Borger Refinery explosion that rocked the Texas Panhandle on January 21, 1980. The incident occurred when high-octane gas at the facility exploded at about 7:30 am. Metal fragments were sent flying up to 4 miles from the site, and the explosion created an earthquake-like tremor that lasted for 15 seconds.
  • 13 Workers Injured During Evacuation After Steam Release Accident: August 2, 2010 
    13 workers were injured due to a process upset at the refinery’s key gasoline-making unit on August 2, 2010. A sudden steam release did not cause immediate injury to workers at the scene; rather, many were injured during the resulting evacuation. The incident involved the failure of a steam line during maintenance. Workers were treated for broken bones, fractures, sprains, scrapes, and other injuries.
  • Worker Dies in Fall at Borger Refinery: May 1, 2012 
    A man died after falling 100 feet at the Borger Refinery on the afternoon of May 1, 2012. He was taken from the scene to a local hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries.
  • Several Workers Injured During Turnaround Accident: March 15, 2014 
    At about 5 pm on March 15, 2014, several workers who were performing routine maintenance at the Borger Refinery were injured as a result of chemical exposure, likely hydrofluoric acid. They were sent to local hospitals for treatment for burn injuries.

Why Do Refinery Accidents Happen?

Accidents at refineries like those owned and operated by WRB Refining happen when people are careless, when equipment is improperly maintained, and when safety regulations are not followed to the letter. There is no question that a refinery is a potentially hazardous place to work. That is why state and federal regulations were created—to protect workers and the environment. Refinery accidents can be traced back to decisions made by big companies to increase production, delay maintenance, and cut corners, all in the name of money.

When profits are put before safety, workers pay the price.

Our WRB Refining Accident Law Firm Is Known for Results

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in any type of accident at Borger Refinery, Wood River Refinery, or any plant or facility in Texas, Illinois, or across the U.S., you can turn to Arnold & Itkin for experienced counsel. Our WRB Refining accident lawyers face off against oil and gas giants throughout the country, fighting for injured workers and families who have lost loved ones in preventable fires, explosions, and other catastrophes. We can answer your questions and help you understand your options to get the best medical treatment and the complete financial support you need—for life.

Contact our refinery accident attorneys today for a free, confidential review of your case. We’re here to help.

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