During World War II, a number of refineries including Valero’s Houston refinery were constructed along the Houston Ship Channel due to the demand for petroleum and synthetic rubber products. Located along the Houston Ship Channel, Valero’s Houston refinery has deep-water access for off-loading feedstock at the location. Many individuals are unaware that each year a significant number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities occur at Valero’s Houston refinery. When these events occur, it is frequently important to retain the services of a talented refinery accident attorney.
The History of the Houston Refinery
Valero began operation in 1942 and has gone through a variety of technological advancement and developments since this time. The Houston refinery was purchased relatively recently when Valero acquired the Houston refinery in 1997 from basis Petroleum. The Houston refinery is a mid-sized plant with a total maximum capacity of 160,000 barrels of crude oil per day and the employment of approximately 450 personnel.
Injuries and Fatalities due to Fires at the Houston Refinery
In October of 2013, a fire occurred at Valero’s Houston refinery. Fortunately, there were no injuries due to this fire and emergency services were able to quickly respond to the fire. Although this case resolved well, there is a good likelihood that if emergency services had not been able to promptly respond to the fire or if the fire had come hazardous material more quickly that the fire could have easily gotten out of control and result in either larger flames or even an explosion.
Due to this great risk presented by fire at refinery sites, even the smallest flames at refinery sites are often viewed as significant challenges.
There are many reasons why refinery fires occur. One of the most common reasons is lack of training by employees who staffed with operating machinery at the refinery. Another common reason is that lack of maintenance at the refinery can result in serious malfunctions.
Explosions Involving Falling Objects at Valero’s Houston Refinery
In addition to fires, there are a variety of dangerous accidents that occur each year at Valero’s Houston refinery. These accidents include incidents where large objects fall on refinery workers. In December of 2009, three workers at Valero’s Houston refinery were restarting a boiler when the boiler catastrophically failed. The boiler subsequently exploded and threw one of the employees under the structure of the boiler causing the employee to suffer significant blunt force trauma. The two other workers experienced uncertain injury. Refinery explosions can occur for a variety of reasons. Often, explosions result from small or manageable fires that occur at the refinery. Other times, unsafe working conditions result in the malfunction of equipment or machinery leading to an explosions. Other times, refinery equipment is defective in nature and explodes.
Contact A Knowledgeable Houston Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Houston refinery accident including an event that took place at Valero’s Houston refinery, one of the best legal strategies is to immediately retain the services of an experienced attorney who knows exactly how to respond to initiate a legal claim against a liable party including a refinery owner.