As long as there have been Texas petroleum refineries they have exploded and burned. Refineries are highly dangerous, complex operations that involve flammable liquids and gasses. Despite concerns that burning fossil fuels is causing possibly catastrophic changes due to global warming, the petroleum industry has no end in sight.
Our modern economy couldn’t exist without petroleum. But the price isn’t just what we pay at the pump. Refinery workers are often injured and killed on the job. Schechter, Shaffer, & Harris, LLP represents injured refinery workers and family members of those killed in accidents.
Here are some Texas petroleum refineries that have exploded and burned over the years, injuring and killing employees and contractors at the site.
- ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery Explosions
ExxonMobil’s refinery in Baytown had numerous fires and explosions over the years, but this one was especially bad. Last December, the largest oil refinery in the US exploded. The fire happened in a hydrotreater unit that was shut down due to a leak. Four people injured in the blast were contractors who were repairing it.
The plant’s 2019 explosion in Baytown caused injuries to 37 people. Local authorities told about 5,000 people in the area they should shelter in place. Exxon’s Baytown plants have a long history of safety and environmental violations.
- TPC Group Port Neches Explosion
Three people were injured, two employees and a contractor, when part of the plant exploded and burned in 2019. There was an initial explosion and a secondary explosion followed. Evacuations were ordered for 60,000 people living within a four-mile radius.
- Alon USA Big Spring Refinery Explosion
An explosion injured four workers and shook buildings for miles in 2015. The refinery employed about 170 at the time. A nearby interstate, local schools, and a college closed as a result. People 30 miles away felt the explosion.
- Delek Refining in Tyler
Four people were injured, two of them critically, in an explosion and multiple fires at the plant in 2008. Firefighters had one fire under control when it re-ignited. Neighbors reported the blast knocked pictures hung on their walls. Before the blast, plant operators had been fined $298,000 for worker safety and environmental violations. The plant employed 270.
- Texas City Plant Explosion 2005
The BP Texas City Refinery explosion of 2005 was the worst plant explosion in US history. Company employees restarted a unit that was shut down for repair. They filled up a section of the unit with gasoline, which overflowed to a backup unit, which also overflowed, resulting in a gasoline geyser.
It ignited, causing an explosion that killed 15 workers and severely injured at least 170 more. Many of the injured or killed were in or around temporary trailers used for supporting work at the plant.
BP accepted full responsibility for the catastrophe and settled more than a thousand related lawsuits, spending $1.6 billion. BP was also fined $21 million by the federal government for safety rules violations that contributed to the explosion.
Phillips Refinery in Phillips, Texas
Explosions rocked Phillips 66 Borger Refinery in 1980, sending flames 300 feet into the air and damaging dozens of nearby homes. At least 34 persons were injured in the explosions. Company officials stated two cracking units used to manufacture high-octane gasoline blew up. The fire was stopped before it spread to a third unit.
- Texas City Refining Explosion 1978
As many as 12 explosions and resulting fires killed five and injured ten in Texas City. Two 55,000‐gallon gasoline tanks at the site exploded. The explosions were felt over a 20-mile radius.
An Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Inured Refinery Workers
If you or a family member was killed or injured while working at a refinery, you need a Houston work accident lawyer that will fight for justice on your behalf. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. know how to win workers’ comp claims. You deserve lawyers just as experienced and aggressive as those working for insurance companies. We are dedicated to your cause and can help you fight and win your claim.