Worker files injury suit after explosion at nearby refinery

David Yates Jun. 18, 2008, 4:00pm

A contract worker at one refinery has filed suit for alleged injuries he received when there was an explosion at another refinery.

James Pyawasay is an Austin Industries employee who was working at Texas Petrochemicals' facility next door to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant during an explosion on June 11.

Pyawasay filed suit June 16 in the Jefferson County District Court and names Texas Petrochemicals, Goodyear and plant manager Mike Lockwood as defendants.

According to the Houston Chronicle, one plant worker was killed and six others injured during the 7:30 a.m., June 11 explosion. The explosion also caused a small release of ammonia, which is used as a refrigerant to cool processed liquids.

"This suit is brought as a result of a tragic and wholly unnecessary disaster that occurred at … the Houston Goodyear plant," the suit states.

"An ignition source caused an explosion in the heat exchange unit at the … plant, which severely injured Plaintiff who …was working directly next door to that Goodyear facility. (The) event was proximately caused by the negligence and gross negligence of Defendants … in failing to enact and to enforce appropriate safety rules and regulations."

In his suit, Pyawasay says TPC, "whose facility is separated (from Goodyear) merely by a chain-link fence and railroad track," was negligent in failing to maintain a safe workplace and in failing to timely notify "persons within TPC's area of control about the release of dangerous vapors."

The suit does not state the nature of Pyawasay's injuries.

The plaintiff is seeking past and future pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of affections, society, guidance, counseling, earnings, earning capacity, consortium and enjoyment of life.

In addition to damages, Pyawasay is requesting an injunction and restraining order prohibiting the defendants from tampering with evidence.

He is represented by Robert Ammons of The Ammons Law Firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D181-921

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