Man takes cutting torch to barrel, sues company after barrel explodes

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 12, 2011, 9:48am


MARSHALL - An East Texan who took a cutting torch to a barrel containing rubbing alcohol residue has filed a personal injury lawsuit after the barrel exploded and caused him to sustain severe injuries and burns.

Allan Lynn Clyburn and his wife, Nina, filed suit against Aloe Vera of America Inc. on Sept. 7 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The incident occurred on Nov. 24, 2009, as Clyburn was preparing an industrial barrel for use as a deer feeder when the barrel exploded, seriously injuring him.

According to the lawsuit, the barrel originally contained 355 pounds of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The defendant sold the barrels to an individual in Ben Wheeler, Texas, who then resold the barrels to the public, including Clyburn.

Clyburn states he was led to believe that the barrel had been appropriately cleaned and was safe for use. When he began to modify the barrel with a cutting torch, the barrel exploded causing Clyburn severe injuries. Clyburn states he was blown 15 to 20 feet away, suffered numerous broken bones, and sustained second and three degree burns.

Under federal regulations, barrels that contain isopropyl alcohol are to be disposed of in a safe and proper manner to protect against injury and damage to persons and property, the suit states. Improper disposal of barrels containing residual isopropyl alcohol specifically violates Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The defendant is accused of negligence and gross negligence for violating the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, for selling barrels to someone they knew to be a reseller while the barrels contain dangerously flammable and explosive residue, selling the barrels in questions without ensuring proper and safe removal and cleaning of dangerous and flammable materials and selling the barrels in questions to a reseller who they knew or should have known was not properly equipped or educated to dispose of the barrels.

Clyburn is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of services, loss of consortium, interest and court costs.

A jury trial is requested.

The plaintiffs are represented by Andrew L. Payne of Payne Mitchell Law Group in Dallas and Brent Goudarzi of Goudarzi & Young in Gilmer.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00388

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