3 Killed, 7 Injured in PCA Explosion in Deridder, LA

3 Killed, 7 Injured in PCA Explosion in Deridder, LA

Three men died and seven others were injured in an explosion at Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) in DeRidder, LA on February 8. William Rolls Jr., 32; Jody L. Gooch, 40; and Sedrick Stallworth, 42  died in an explosion that occurred while their contract team performed welding on a tank during a facility shutdown for maintenance.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has sent a three-person investigative team to investigate the incident which occurred at 11:10 a.m. at PCA’s Container Board Mill located off of Highway 190 in DeRidder. “Hot work” incidents, which include welding, are the most common source of worker fatalities investigated by the CSB – and the most preventable,  the agency told KFDM.com.

The CSB is an independent federal agency whose mission is to protect people and the environment by improving chemical safety. After a 2008 explosion at a PCA plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, the CSB created materials on how to prevent such accidents including a safety bulletin called  “Seven Key Lessons to Prevent Worker Deaths during Hot Work In and Around Tanks.”  and a safety video called “Dangers of Hot Work.”

Six of the seven people who were injured were treated and released from the hospital. The seventh person remains hospitalized.

PCA released the following statement about the accident:

“At approximately 11:10 am CST, Wednesday, February 8th, there was an explosion at our DeRidder, LA paper mill. The incident involved annual repair work being performed on piping in the pulp mill area and resulted in three contractor fatalities. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the people working on our site. The top priorities at this time are the notification of families of the deceased contractors and investigation of the incident with authorities.

At the time of the incident, the D1 machine was down for its annual outage and the D3 machine was running and continues to operate. The current assessment indicates that the annual outage work is expected to be delayed by up to one week and the mill will then resume full operation. Further information will be provided, as appropriate, when it becomes available.”

Wrongful Death

When someone dies due to the negligence of another, a “wrongful death claim” can be filed by family members who are considered “next of kin” including spouses, parents, children and other relatives. The goal of a wrongful death suit is to get justice for families and to make sure they do not needlessly suffer financially. A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal prosecution, only state or federal prosecutors can bring criminal charges. The reason for a wrongful death claim is to compensate the heirs of the deceased.

Lawyers with Experience

Pritzker Hageman law firm is on the U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Law Firms.” Fred and Eric have both been named “Super Lawyers” by Law & Politics since 2004. Together, they have won numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for their clients, including:

  • $10 million for a man who was burned on over 60% of his body;
  • $6 million for a family in a wrongful death case;
  • $5.1 million for a man who lost a limb (they are currently representing another client who was severely burned in an explosion and lost his leg).

Contact our law firm about a fire lawsuit or call 1 (888) 377-8900 and ask to talk with Fred Pritzker or Eric Hageman. The call is free, the consultation is free and there is no obligation.