Galveston Plant Explosion Attorneys (2023)

More Than $10 Billion Recovered for the Injured & Their Families

Galveston, both the city and the county, is a hub of thechemical and maritime industries. Historically, Galveston was once the second-busiest port next to New York City's, far exceeding any other port on the Gulf Coast. The Galveston Bay Refinery alone employs over 1,000 people and is an economic lynchpin of the region. The city (and the nearby areas) is one of the most strategically important cities when it comes to shipping and energy production, housing a port and both the second- and third-largest refineries in the United States.

Galveston County is also the location of one of the worstplant explosions in U.S. history.

The survivors of plant explosions and refinery accidents in the Galveston region deserve to live financially-stable lives. When their careers or their lives are cut short by a company's negligence, then the company should pay for the costs of their care. It's the right thing to do—but as Galveston plant explosion attorneys, we know that companies don't do the right thing unless youmake them do the right thing.

Arnold & Itkin help refinery explosion survivors get the money they need to pay for medical care, replace their lost wages, supplement their lost earning capacity, and provide for their families. We do that because our firm knows the truth: plant explosions are preventable. Accidents that create explosions are virtually always the result ofneglected equipment, poor training, and complacentsafety policies. Workers we've represented tell us about supervisors who preach "safety first," but their actions add "...unless it gets in the way of profits."

If you could give yourself one chance to undo what happened, would you take it? Claims can't fix everything, but they can give you a second chance. Learn how we can help by dialing (888) 493-1629 or using our shortonline form.

The Worst Galveston County Plant Explosions

Galveston County—home to Texas City, Galveston Port, and the Port of Texas City—has seen its fair share of industrial disasters. Plant accidents,ammonia explosions, and hundreds ofworkers' deaths punctuate the history of the region through the 1900s. Below, we discuss the most infamous moments of Galveston industrial history and how each incident might have gone differently under better leadership.

The Texas City Disaster (April 16, 1947)

The deadliest industrial disaster in the nation's history took place just offshore from Texas City. On the morning of April 16, theSS Grandcamp was docked at the Port of Texas City. There are theories that the night before, someone had improperly discarded a cigarette that wasn't fully put-out. That's not normally a problem—but normally, ships aren't carrying 2,200 tons of explosive chemicals. After smoldering potentially all night, the crew discovered a fire had started in the cargo hold.

After about an hour of firefighting efforts, a combination of steam pressure (used to fight fires on ships at the time) and nitrous dioxide fumes carried the ammonia nitrate past its explosive threshold. All 2,200 tons detonated. The resulting explosion was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. The shockwave was felt by Louisiana residents 250 miles away and leveled almost 1,000 buildings in the immediate area. The casualty estimates were in the mid-500s. The initial explosion also triggered the explosion ofanother ship carrying ammonia nitrate.

(Video) The Deadliest Industrial Accident in US History

Of those presumed dead, 113 were never recovered.

The BP Texas City Plant Explosion (March 23, 2005)

In January 2005, BP commissioned a private consulting firm to inspect their massive Texas City refinery—a plant that was capable of producing 3% of the nation's daily fuel usage. What the firm found was troubling: they found thinning pipes, broken alarms, crumbling structures, and other signs of serious safety issues. The elements they found would play a part in one of the worst U.S. plant explosions in history.

"We have never seen a site where the notion 'I could die today' was so real."
- BP Texas City Refinery report

Just two months later, operations at the Galveston County refinery had resulted in volatile liquids flooding a stack designed to vent gas pressure. The stack was designed to holdsome fluid and was equipped with two alarms to ensure that the flooding never reached a certain level. However, the second alarm was broken, so the valve to empty the stack never opened. Instead of keeping the hydrocarbon liquid underneath 10 feet, the stack flooded to over 138 feet, allowing the liquid to escape through the gas pressure vent at the top of the stack. The result was a geyser of hydrocarbons flooding the area in the form of a flammable vapor.

Because someone left their truck idling 25 feet from the blower drum, the vapor ignited and killed 15 people in the immediate vicinity. The plant explosion was so powerful that windows were blown out over three-quarters of a mile away. About 180 people were injured in the aftermath.

The Valero Plant Explosion (April 19, 2018)

Almost 101 years to the day after the Texas City Disaster, the enormous Valero refinery caught fire after a huge explosion rocked the facility and nearby witnesses. The explosion could be heard for 5 miles and shook the buildings within a mile of the explosion. Investigators are still trying to understand the cause of the explosion, but thankfully no one was hurt. Investigation of the Valero facility may take a backseat to the investigation of the Kuraray America plant explosion, which left 20 workers severely burned.

Oil Refineries & Chemical Plant Operators in Galveston County

  • Texas City Chemical Plant (Eastman)
  • 2 Texas City Chemical Plants (Dow)
  • BP Texas City Oil Refinery (now owned byMarathon Oil)
  • Texas City Refinery (Marathon Oil)
  • Galveston Bay Refinery (Marathon Oil)
  • Texas City Oil Refinery (Valero)
  • Gas Manufacturing Plant (Praxair)

The Most Common Cause of Galveston Plant & Refinery Explosions

BP Texas City. Williams Olefins. Phillips. West Fertilizer Company.All of these names should be familiar to us because it was their negligence that cost our workers their lives and their livelihoods. In every terrible refinery explosion of the last decade, it was a supervisor's conscious decision to put profits ahead of safety that killed plant workers. It was a supervisor's decision to ignore the factors that put workers' lives at risk.

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Galveston workers suffer severe industrial injuries of all kinds, including:

  • Burns
  • Electrocution
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Toxic exposure
  • Head injuries
  • Loss of vision

As Galveston plant injury lawyers, we've learned that the heart of every plant explosion is negligence. Oil and chemical companies live or die by production, so some cut corners or push the limit of how little maintenance they can get away with. As America's refineries and plants age (with no new facilities coming online in decades), the industry needsmore maintenance, not less.

Our Clients Have Won Billions with Our Guidance & Resources

Our Galveston plant attorneys know how companies treat workers after disasters occur. A plant explosion will leave our clients withextensive injuries, both psychological and physical, which either pause or end their careers. After years of faithful service, they expect their employers to help them through the recovery—but they don't. Instead, plant workers are forced to watch as their life savings dwindle away in the face ofmedical treatment while they're unable to work.

Our plant explosion case results include:

  • $97 million settlement forburn victims whose plant caught fire. We ensured that they got the medical treatment they needed.
  • $39.7 million verdict for an explosion survivor who was working a plywood plant. His result will go toward paying for the 7+ surgeries he needed as a result of the accident.
  • $18.5 million verdict for a group of 4 workers who were injured in the 2013 Williams Olefins explosion in Geismar. This trial was notable for holding a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company, SABIC, accountable for their share of the fault.
  • $15.45 million verdict for 4 workers from the William Olefins refinery in Geismar. The defendant initially tried to shift the blame, but the jury saw through their plan and found the companies involved 98% at fault for the explosion.

With our help, survivors don't have to spend their life in financial instability. They don't have to worry about how to pay for the mortgage, the car, the groceries, or the doctor. With our results, no one has to choose between getting treatment or feeding their families.

The 2013 Geismar Plant Explosion

One of our most personally-rewarding cases was representing nearly a dozen survivors of theLouisiana plant disaster from 2013. Williams Olefins had known for years that one of their reboiler systems had a major safety risk inherent to its design. The fix would have been simple and cheap. However, the solution would have slowed down production—the cardinal sin of the petrochemical industry. Despite years of warnings and chances to make it right, the company did nothing to fix the issue...until one June morning in 2013, when a reboiler tank exploded and killed 2 workers, injuring 167 more. The company refused to settle with our clients, claiming that they weren't responsible, despite being responsible for every decision that led up to the disaster. The juries saw the truth in our clients' story and granted them the relief they deserved.

Galveston Burn Injury Lawyers

It's not uncommon for plant explosions to be followed by fires that burn for hours, even days. With huge supplies of fuel and volatile chemicals located all over industrial work sites, plant fires can cause even more pain and damage to workers than the initial explosion. Burns cause the greatest financial burden of any catastrophic injury, with severe cases creating up to $200,000 in initial hospital bills.

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When factory employees or plant workers are left with severe burns following a refinery explosion, Arnold & Itkin is the firm they call. Our Galveston burn injury lawyers help ensure that injured workers and their families get what they need to cover burn care, reconstructive surgery, and basic needs.

Oil refineries, chemical plants, and other work sites with explosive chemicals nearby ought to cover the high cost of burn injuries when their workers suffer accidents—when they don't, call us. Our firm wants to make sure they do right by you.

Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving Galveston

Fatal industrial accidents scar families forever—emotionally, psychologically, and in many cases, financially. Losing a spouse or a parent creates a burden that nothing can lift, but for families of refinery workers, losing a loved one also means losing the sole source of income. Funeral costs, medical expenses...all of these are difficult enough without wondering how groceries will be paid for or how the mortgage will be covered.

Our wrongful death lawyers help the families of plant explosion victims get what they need to move forward. We've helped surviving loved ones win billions to pay for economic and non-economic damages—including punitive damages against the people who caused the accident. With our Galveston chemical plant death law firm there to see justice served, these families can now face brighter futures.

Arnold & Itkin in the News

The Testimony of Plant Explosion Survivors

Nothing we do matters if it doesn't help our clients. The end result isn't about the money—it's about ensuring that explosion survivors have everything they need to provide for themselves and their families. Each of ourhundreds of verdicts and settlements represents a person whose voice was heard—and whose life was made whole again. Here's what Christopher said about how working with us changed him:

"They fought for me in the courtroom. They didn’t quit. It was never about monetary gain or loss or anything like that. It was more, ‘How are you doing mentally? How you doing physically? This is where we need to go with it.’ They did more than anyone else would have done. They did more than anybody else would have to do. This firm has impacted every aspect of my life, past, present, future. They pulled off some miracles. They stood up for me when nobody else would."
— Christopher Devall

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Here's what other plant accident survivors had to say!

"They're fighting for these little people that can’t handle themselves when a giant comes. Almost like the David and Goliath. It’s amazing thing to see. I would recommend them to anybody, I mean anybody.”
— Shawn Thomas

"They let me know when I met them that everything was going be all right. Ever since the day I met them until today that I'm sitting here, they have always had my back.”
— Veronica Sowell

"They didn't back down. That's why I like my lawyers. Even when I had to do my testimony in court, they didn't let those lawyers run over me. They fought hard. You have some lions with Arnold & Itkin."
— Maurice Dilworth

Contact Our Galveston Plant Personal Injury Lawyers at (888) 493-1629

If you want to know if you have a case, speak with us as soon as possible for a free consultation. How it works is this: you'll call us or send us a message through our simple online form. We'll set up a time for you to talk with a plant accident lawyer, who will review your options with you for free. If we can help you, we'll cover all the costs of your case from beginning to end. Our payment is always a percentage of your final reward, which means we only get paid if you win. Otherwise, we absorb the costs of the claim. This approach has helped our clients win billions of dollars to provide for their families and rebuild their lives.

Get answers today bycontacting us here.


What caused the BP oil refinery explosion? ›

On March 23, 2005, a series of fires and explosions at the refinery claimed the lives of 15 workers and injured more than 170 people. The cause of the explosion was traced to the startup of an "isomerization unit" (which increases the octane rating of gasoline).

How many people died in the BP Texas City explosion? ›

At approximately 1:20 p.m. on March 23, 2005, a series of explosions occurred at the BP Texas City refinery during the restarting of a hydrocarbon isomerization unit. Fifteen workers were killed and 180 others were injured. Many of the victims were in or around work trailers located near an atmospheric vent stack.

What was the root cause of the BP Texas City explosion? ›

The explosion was caused by the overfilling of the raffinate splitter tower and a blowdown drum releasing hot hydrocarbons. The resulting vapour cloud ignited, destroying the ISOM unit.

What caused the Texas city disaster? ›

The explosion was triggered by a mid-morning fire on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp (docked at port), which detonated her cargo of about 2,300 tons (about 2,100 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate.

Who did BP blame for the oil spill? ›

Eleven men died after the well blew. The judge essentially divided blame among the three companies involved in the spill, ruling that BP bears 67% of the blame; Swiss-based drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd takes 30%; and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton Energy Service takes 3%.

Who took the blame for the BP oil spill? ›

The movie places the blame squarely on the BP executives who helped direct the drilling operations. John Malkovich, playing Don Vidrine, BP's “company man” on the rig, fairly drips malice as he pushes the crew to cut corners.

Were there any survivors of the BP oil spill? ›

It's been six years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, but for survivor Mike Williams, the memory is still fresh. “It haunts me,” Williams tells PEOPLE. “I'm still not completely over it.”

How much in fines did BP pay for the Texas City incident? ›

In agreeing to pay the $50.6 million fine, BP has the dubious distinction of topping the previous record OSHA fine of $21 million that it paid after the 2005 explosion in Texas City. “The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP's disregard for workplace safety,” said the secretary of labor, Hilda L.

What was the largest plant explosion? ›

Hercules Powder Plant

On 12 September 1940, nearly 300,000 pounds (140 t) of gunpowder exploded at the Hercules Company in the Kenvil area of Roxbury, New Jersey. At least 51 people were killed, over 100 injured, and twenty buildings flattened.

How did they fix the BP oil spill? ›

On July 15, 2010, BP announced that it had successfully plugged the oil leak using a tightly fitted cap. The cap, weighing 75 tons and standing 30 feet (9.1 m) high, is now bolted to the failed blowout preventer. It consists of a Flange Transition Spool and a 3 Ram Stack and is a temporary solution.

What caused the Texas fertilizer plant explosion? ›

Investigators from the Texas Department of Insurance and State Fire Marshall's Office concluded ammonium nitrate was the cause of the explosion. The Investigators also said the fire started in the company's fertilizer and seed building, but have not yet found the cause of the fire.

Is BP still in business? ›

Its largest division is BP America in the United States. BP is the fourth-largest investor-owned oil company in the world by 2021 revenues (after ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies).

What was the worst disaster in Texas history? ›


The deadliest tornado in Texas history struck shortly after 4 pm on the day after Mother's Day in 1953.

What was the deadliest disaster in Texas? ›

Galveston hurricane of 1900, also called Great Galveston hurricane, hurricane (tropical cyclone) of September 1900, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history, claiming more than 8,000 lives.

What was the biggest explosion in Texas history? ›

A giant explosion occurs during the loading of fertilizer onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. Nearly 600 people lost their lives and thousands were injured when the ship was literally blown to bits.

How much did BP pay the families? ›

Under the final consent decree, BP will pay the trustees up to $8.8 billion, the largest recovery of damages ever for injuries to natural resources, to restore the Gulf.

Who went to jail for BP oil spill? ›

In all, the Justice Department brought 48 felony charges and 2 misdemeanor charges against four BP employees: Kaluza, Vidrine, former BP vice president David Rainey, and an engineer named Kurt Mix.

Did Mr Jimmy survive Deepwater? ›

NEW ORLEANS — Jimmy Harrell, the man in charge of drilling on the Deepwater Horizon when the mobile oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico 11 years ago, has died at his home in Morton, Mississippi.

Was BP at fault for the oil spill? ›

While the judge called BP's actions "reckless" in his 153-page ruling, Transocean and Halliburton were described as "negligent." Although all companies made costly errors, "BP had a hand in most of these failures," the judge wrote.

How did BP stop the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? ›

Temporary closure. On July 15, 2010, BP announced that it had successfully plugged the oil leak using a tightly fitted cap. The cap, weighing 75 tons and standing 30 feet (9.1 m) high, is now bolted to the failed blowout preventer. It consists of a Flange Transition Spool and a 3 Ram Stack and is a temporary solution.

How much did BP pay survivors of Deepwater Horizon? ›

As of July 1, more than 260,000 private parties had submitted claims, and the company had paid nearly $12 billion to more than 130,000 unique claimants, according to the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center.

Is Deepwater Horizon still leaking? ›

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Still Detectable 10 Years Later, Scientists Say. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was not a short-lived catastrophe. Over 10 years after one of the largest environmental disasters in human history, a sticky oil residue still coats some marshland in the Gulf of Mexico, a new report reveals.

Why was there no mud Deepwater Horizon? ›

Deepwater Horizon's crew needed to cement the bottom of the well, put a cap on it, and sail away. First there were many abandonment procedures, including a “negative test,” in which heavy drilling fluid (“mud”) was pulled out of the well to see whether the cement job would hold.

Is BP still paying for Deepwater Horizon? ›

Under the final consent decree, BP will pay the trustees up to $8.8 billion, the largest recovery of damages ever for injuries to natural resources, to restore the Gulf. The settlement includes: $1 billion already allocated during early restoration which began in 2011.


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