The Clovelly oil rig explosion on Lake Pontchartrain two weeks ago was the latest in a string of deadly explosions in Louisiana this year. Eric Hageman and Fred Pritzker, explosion attorneys who represent clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, say the blast was the fourth deadly workplace explosion in Louisiana this year. Together, the four explosions resulted in six deaths and 21 injuries.
Clovelly Oil and Gas Platform Explosion in Lake Pontchartrain, LA
Seven men were injured and one man was killed when a Clovelly oil rig in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain exploded on October 15. The eight-man crew was performing routine maintenance on the storage platform located a mile and a half from the shore of the city of Kenner in Jefferson Parrish when the blast occurred around 7:15 p.m.
Some of the crew members were contract employees, others were employed by New Orleans-based Clovelly Oil Co. All seven of the men who were injured in the explosion required hospitalization for treatment. Five of them were taken to the University Medical Center (UMC) in New Orleans; two were taken to East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie. Those injured were Cody Boudreaux, Paul Pfister, Brent Neil, Devin Billiot, James Bordelon, Alvin Kembrel, and Lawrence Dufrene, who was serverely burned in the explosion.
Forty-four-year-old Timothy Morrison of Katy, Texas was missing for several days after the explosion. His body was recovered by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on October 20. A memorial service was held for him in Texas on October 22.
OSHA joins investigation into Lake Pontchartrain oil platform explosion https://t.co/nyrRMwgTcp
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) October 18, 2017
Aethon Energy Well Explosion in Mansfield, LA
One man died and two others were injured when a well tank owned by Dallas-based Aethon Energy exploded in Mansfield, LA on April 18. The contract crew was working to clean up storm damage when the blast occurred around 11:45 a.m.
Camron Anthony Hernandez, 25, of Diana, Texas was killed in the explosion. The names of the two injured are members were not released. One was airlifted to the University Health. Another was taken by ambulance to DeSoto Regional Health System.
Phillips 66 Paradis Pipeline Explosion
One person was killed and five others were injured in a February 9th explosion at the Phillips 66 Paradis Pipeline Station in the St. Charles parish of New Orleans. The six-man crew was cleaning a section of the pipeline near the Williams Discovery Plant when the blast occurred around 7:00 p.m.
First responders treated three of the injured at the scene, two were transported to the hospital. Later, one of them was airlifted to the burn unit at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.
The remains of Josh Helms of Choctaw, LA were recovered from the scene four days after the explosion as the fire that burned for several days after the explosion prevented first responders from approaching the core of the site. Originally from Port O’Connor, TX, Helms, a 36-year-old husband and father, had been a pipeliner for eight years.
Owned by Phillips 66 of Houston, the pipeline, which runs from Venice to Paradis, carries highly volatile natural gas liquids that are used to produce butane and propane. The crew was cleaning a section of it at the station on Old Spanish Trail when the explosion and fire occurred. The blast forced the temporary evacuation of 60 homes and the closure of Louisiana 631 from Louisiana 635 to Louisiana 306 in both directions.
PCA Explosion in DeRidder, LA
A February 8 explosion at Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) in DeRidder, LA killed three men and injured seven others. The 10-man contract crew was welding a tank during a period of time that the facility was shutdown for annual repair work. The force of the blast was powerful enough to the send the tank airborne flying through the facility before landing in a different area, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which is investigating the incident.
Sedrick Stallworth, 42; Jody L. Gooch, 40 and William Rolls Jr., 32 died in the explosion that occurred at 11:10 a.m. at PCA’s Container Board Mill located off of Highway 190 in DeRidder. Six of the seven injured crew members were treated and released from the hospital. One crew member required a lengthier hospital stay.
A three-person investigative team from the CSB arrived at the plant the day after the incident. The CSB considers welding is a type of “hot work” or work that can produce sparks, which can ignite fires and set off explosions. “The CSB has investigated many hot work accidents across the country, including a 2008 explosion that killed three workers at a different PCA plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin,” CSB Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland said in a statement. “Hot work incidents are one of the most common causes of worker deaths we see at the CSB, but also one of the most readily preventable.”
Gas explosion lawyer Fred Pritzker agrees. “Before this kind of work is done, a hazard assessment should be made to determine the risks and how to mitigate them.”