Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 4, 2013, 11:04am

A Jefferson County man has filed a lawsuit claiming he suffered severe injuries during a flash fire and explosion at Temple-Inland.

Levi Hoffpauir filed suit against Temple-Inland Inc. and International Paper Co. on Sept. 19 in Orange County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

While working for Signature Industrial Services, Hoffpauir states he was severely injured on Oct. 6, 2010, during a flash fire and explosion at Orange Mill of Temple-Inland.  According to the lawsuit, Hoffpauir was injured when an unknown plant worker was welding on a unit that improperly contained combustibles.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to depressurize the tank prior to requesting and authorizing the work, failing to properly and safely depressurize the tank, failing to inspect the tank, failing to warn workers that the tank could be pressurized, failing to provide employees and workers with proper equipment and failing to monitor combustible gases.

The defendants are further accused of failing to warn Hoffpauir and others of the combustible gasses in the tank, failing to inspect premises properly, failing to certify the premises as safe for use, failing to employ safety personnel to inspect the premises, and for failing to have a proper and safe inspection program.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish, physical impairment, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, interest, exemplary damages and court costs.

Hoffpauir is represented by David Dies of Dies & Parkhurst LLP in Orange. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:13-cv-00653

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