Last Wednesday morning, a refinery fire broke out in Beaumont, Texas at the ExxonMobil refinery plant. The fire occurred in a processing unit of the plant, which was closed down for routine maintenance repairs. However, when the fire broke out, there were contract workers in close proximity working on the maintenance who were hurt in the flames. The refinery plant was able to quickly contain and extinguish the flames, though these 12 workers were still injured as a result. Out of the group of injured workers, 7 of them were taken in for emergency treatments at the local hospital for varying degrees of burn wounds from the accident. As of late Thursday afternoon, five of the employees who received minor injuries were treated and released from the hospital while the remaining workers are still receiving treatments for their more severe burn wounds.
According to ExxonMobil spokeswoman Kathleen Jackson, the fire began when a heat exchanger released hydrocarbons, causing the fire to ignite; the exchanger was connected to a catalytic desulfurization unit (CHD). This particular unit is used to remove sulfur from petroleum products, and it was shut down for maintenance at the time of the fire. Jackson shares that the exact cause of this fire was not learned until Friday afternoon last week after formal investigations were conducted. ExxonMobil shared in a press release Friday, that they are fully cooperating with the three contract companies whose employees were harmed in the incident, and doing whatever they can to ensure that the victims receive the best of medical care. They also report that they are working alongside OSHA in order to find the root of the cause of the explosion, and prevent incidents like this from ever occurring again.
Unfortunately, refinery fires and explosions are not unheard of in Texas—especially within the last week. Our great state has experienced two devastating tragedies, and the price the people have had to pay is with their lives. In the Beaumont fire, 12 victims were injured and many suffered from severe burn wounds and broken bones. That same night in West, Texas a fertilizer plant violently exploded causing the effects of a 2.5 earthquake into heir town. Today, the death toll has reached 35 victims, and over 200 others are reported suffering varying levels of injures from the blast.
The above events are not the only tragic incidents that Texas has seen in recent history:
- October 23, 1989—Phillips Petroleum Co. explosion in Pasadena; 23 dead , 130 injured
- July 5, 1990—Arco Chemical Co. plant explosion in Channelview; 17 people killed
- March 29, 2000—Phillips Petroleum Co. fire and explosion in Pasadena; 1 fatality, 71 injured victims
- September 2, 2004- BP Oil refinery in Texas City; 2 people killed from burn wounds by super-heated
- March 23, 2005—BP Oil refinery explosion in Texas City; 15 dead, 200 injured
If you or a loved one have been injured in a refinery fire or plant explosion, do not hesitate in contacting Arnold & Itkin today for the trusted Houston personal injury attorney you deserve on your side. Whether you are a worker who was hurt on the job, or you are a resident in the community who is now suffering because of the accidents on the plant site; we want to help you. Our team of highly qualified legal representatives will do whatever it takes to prove the negligence of those responsible for the incident, and we will fight relentlessly on your behalf to receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today to begin discussing your case, and to determine the most effective course of action for you and your family.