Worker injured in 2009 Valero blast files lawsuit against numerous companies

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 24, 2011, 11:40am

GALVESTON - A worker at the Valero refinery in Texas City has filed a lawsuit, alleging he sustained "serious, disabling and permanent injuries" as a result of an explosion at the facility almost two years ago.

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 16 in Galveston County District Court, Mark Eldridge blames a number of entities, including Halgo and Babcock & Wilcox, for the boiler blast at the Valero refinery on Dec. 4, 2009, which killed one worker and injured others.

According to the suit, the B-28 boiler failed to start up and Eldridge and to co-workers were assigned to restart it.

"As the plaintiff and his co-workers were attempting to restart the boiler, the boiler exploded, knocking the plaintiff backward," the original petition says.

"Following the explosion, the plaintiff carried one of his co-workers away from the blast site. Tragically, one of his Valero co-workers was killed in the incident."

Court papers show Babcock & Wilcox designed, manufactured and installed the boiler on specifications produced by Foster Wheeler USA Corp. and with detailed engineering work completed by Jacobs Engineering Inc. Horizon Consultants Inc. designed the software logic for the boiler's burner management system and provided component parts, software and consulting services, the suit states.

John Zink Co. LLC was responsible for the burner, Fisher Controls International LLC the control valves, Halgo the installation and repairs and Honeywell International LLC the burner's management system, according to the suit.

Eldridge claims the blast inflicted injuries to both his shoulders, knees, neck and lower back, and states he has undergone an operation.

He consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages.

The Buzbee Law Firm is representing Eldridge.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1470

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