Two Injured in Latest Port Arthur Refinery Fire

An oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, that has been plagued by chemical plant accidents in the past has experienced yet another one. On Monday, July 7, around 8 p.m., the Chevron Phillips refinery experienced what is being reported as a flash fire. According to reports, two plant employees were injured and taken to two area hospitals. This incident once again highlights the importance of retaining an experienced Beaumont refinery accident attorney when these types of accidents occur, although it was unclear at the time of the press release that was issued by Chevron Phillips how the fire occurred. About the Incident At this point, very little is known about the circumstances surrounding the chemical plant accident at the Chevron Phillips refinery in Port Arthur. The few reports that are available state that a flash fire type of incident occurred in the plant at around 8 p.m. In its press release, which was issued at 11 p.m. that night, Chevron Phillips characterized the incident as a “localized fire” and noted that the cause had not been established at that time. According to the news release, the plant manager immediately mobilized a team to respond to the incident. The Chevron Phillips Refinery’s Checkered Past This is not the first time that the Chevron Phillips refinery in Port Arthur has experienced an accident or fire. Early on the morning of April 27, 2013, during a turnaround period at the plant, a fire occurred. In that incident, eight employees were sent to two local hospitals. Chevron Phillips reported that the fire was extinguished quickly and that it had no impact on the surrounding community. Still, local residents were understandably wary, and the injured employees were certainly advised to retain Houston refinery accident lawyers in order to protect their rights in the aftermath of the incident. Port Arthur Chemical Plant Incidents There are a number of refineries and chemical plants located in Port Arthur, and the Chevron Phillips refinery is not the only one that has experienced accidents and other issues. The Motiva Port Arthur refinery, for example, has been the site of several incidents through the years. In August 2013, for instance, several “flaring incidents” were reported at the plant. They were reportedly caused by the leaking of corrosive chemicals. It could very well turn out that the latest incident at the Chevron Phillips refinery was caused by similar circumstances, but additional details and information will not be available until a thorough investigation has been conducted. Unauthorized Emissions and Other Violations While investigating a chemical plant accident on behalf of his clients, a Beaumont refinery accident lawyer will examine how compliant the plant has been with environmental and safety regulations. In the case of the Motiva Port Arthur refinery, regulators had given the plant a rating of “satisfactory.” However, the plant was also cited for having a lack of maintenance and/or operational practices that resulted in the unauthorized emission of sulfur dioxide. This shows that, while a plant can receive a satisfactory rating, it can just as easily slip into noncompliance that puts its employees and the surrounding community at risk. Protecting Injured Workers’ Rights Anyone who works in a chemical plant or refinery is undoubtedly aware of the risks and dangers, and they should be trained to be as safe as possible while on the premises. Still, many things are beyond employees’ control. As evidenced by the latest accident in Port Arthur, accidents and injuries can and do occur. When they do, it is in workers’ best interests to hire experienced Houston refinery accident lawyers as quickly as possible. In addition to protecting their rights, these actions may help to prevent similar accidents and incidents in the future.