Texas is an industrial leader in the United States. Powered by the U.S. energy industry, Houston, TX is known for its thriving oil companies, along with the biomedical and aerospace industries. The fourth-largest metropolitan region in the nation, Houston was ranked number one by Forbes for paycheck worth.
With the state's industry-driven economy comes a certain risk: the danger of industrial accidents and disasters. Over the years, Texas has seen many industrial accidents, some of which resulted in many deaths and catastrophic property damage.
1947 "Texas City Disaster"
On April 16th, 1947, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in the American History destroyed a vessel docked in the Port of Texas City. The boat contained 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate, which detonated when a fire broke out aboard the ship.
405 victims were identified; 63 were found dead but remain unidentified; 113 people were classified as "missing" and never found. These casualties include firefighters aboard the ship when it exploded.
The Texas City Disaster let to the first class action lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of 8,485 victims linked to the explosion.
Phillips Disaster of 1989
On October, 23, 1989 a series of explosions took place at The Houston Chemical Complex (HCC) facility near the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas. Reports state that the initial blast registered 3.5 on the Richter Scale and the subsequent fire took 10 hours to get under control. A total of 314 workers were injured and 23 employees were killed.
The accident was caused by the release of extremely flammable process gases on one of the plants' reactors, which were used to produce high-density polyethylene for milk bottles and other containers. Isolation valves that were designed to disconnect as a safety measure failed to do so because they had been improperly reversed when last connected. OSHA ultimately found a number of failures, including inadequate standard operating procedures (SOPs) and issued 566 willful and 9 serious violations. Phillips 66 agreed to pay a $4 million fine and institute process safety management procedures.
2005 Texas City Refinery Explosion
The Texas City Refinery explosion occurred on March 23rd, 2005 and resulted in 15 deaths and more than 170 injuries. The explosion happened at the second-largest refiner in Texas and was attributed to a multitude of technical failings and organizational mistakes. Some things that may have contributed to the disaster include: inadequate training, lack of supervision, and poor communication between employees. Some believe that these oversights created a deadly combination that eventually led to the explosion.
West Fertilizer Plant Explosion
On April 17th, 2013, the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas experienced an ammonium nitrate explosion much like the 1947 Texas City explosion. 15 people were killed; an additional 160 suffered injuries. 150 buildings were damaged and destroyed.
The explosion was trigged by a fire in the plant, but the original cause of the fire is unknown. According to news sources, the plant was founded in 1962 and was last inspected by OSHA nearly three decades ago.
Houston Industrial Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love suffered an industrial accident injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and lost wages. The Daspit Law Firm provides aggressive and effective legal representation to accident victims in the greater Houston area.