Lawsuit Filed after Exxon Mobil Explosion and Fire

ExxonMobile explosion. | Image from CBS

Four workers were injured after an explosion and fire occurred at the ExxonMobil oil refinery in Baytown, Texas, on December 23. Now, two of the injured individuals have filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil and contractor Team Industrial Services, accusing the defendants of gross negligence.

Houston Public Media reported the two workers, Dylan Purcell and Nicholas Moore suffered head injuries, major orthopedic injuries to their spines, and burns all over their bodies. Moore also suffered a broken leg.

According to the lawsuit, the four injured workers were sealing a leaking pipe that contained a flammable gas when a spark set off the explosion and fire.

The suit alleges that the defendants were negligent by not taking appropriate precautions and failing to provide proper safety equipment.

The early-morning ExxonMobil explosion rattled the homes of nearby neighbors, jolting them awake. 22-year-old Harley, who lives two miles from the Exxon Mobil facility, told NBC News, “I thought maybe it was a bomb or an earthquake. It was very startling.” She said her windows, air conditioning unit, and television started rattling following the boom.

Sarah Martinez, a resident who lives across the street from the plant, described feeling a “wave.” She told NBC News, “It was like a weird feeling, like a wave and then there was a rumble in my apartment, and then the next thing I know, all my pictures in my living room are on the floor.”

Harley’s primary concern is how the fire can potentially impact the air quality. She adds, “it’s very concerning. You have no clue what’s being distributed and being released in the air that could possibly be extremely harmful and toxic.”

Factory manager Rohan Davis stated that the company was monitoring air quality at the site following the explosion and reported that there appeared to be no adverse impact due to the blaze.

A few hours following the incident, ExxonMobil released a statement, saying, “Our first priority is people in the community and in our facilities.” The company also apologized for any inconvenience that the fire may have caused.

So far, Exxon has not made a public statement in response to the lawsuit.

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