Injured worker seeks TRO regarding explosion at Valero Texas City refinery

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 10, 2009, 5:51am

GALVESTON - A Galveston County man has filed a temporary restraining order against two boilermaking companies in an effort to stop the defendants from removing material from an alleged scene of a recent explosion at Valero's Texas City refinery, recent court documents say.

Michael Gibb's suit against Halgo Power Inc. and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., filed Dec. 8 in Galveston County Court No. 1, accuses the businesses of improperly designing, building and installing a boiler which exploded the evening of Dec. 4.

The blast killed one worker and injured two, including the plaintiff.

"Acts caused the boiler to explode, resulting in injuries to the plaintiff," the original petition says. "Tragically, one of his Valero co-workers was killed in the incident."

Gibbs, an operator at the facility, explains that he, two Valero co-workers and a contractor were attempting to restart a large steam boiler when the explosion happened, adding that he was rendered unconscious.

He was then rushed to John Sealy Hospital at Galveston's University of Texas Medical Branch where he was confined overnight.

According to the suit, Gibbs suffered a closed head injury, two large lacerations to his head and severe injuries to his neck, shoulder, hip and other parts of his body.

The plaintiff believes the explosion was a result of indifference and neglect toward the boiler's apparent negative state, and contends that any removal of debris would hinder the investigatory process.

Through the restraining order, he asks Galveston County Court No. 1
Judge Mary Nell Crapitto to ensure the explosion site remains intact.

Gibbs also seeks damages up to $75,000 and a jury trial.

Galveston attorney Anthony G. Buzbee is representing the plaintiff.

Cause No. 61,971

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