Plaintiff Samuel Salache, a Harris County resident, also names Innovative Ventilation Systems and plant manager Ray Brooks as defendants in the suit, filed Jan. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.
Although the incident occurred in Galveston County and Salache is a Harris County resident, the suit maintains Jefferson County is the proper venue because “Defendants engaged in foreseeable, intentional, continuous, and/or systematic contacts within Texas, so that there is both general and specific personal jurisdiction.”
According to the petition, when the fire occurred, Salache was working as a foreman for Industrial Specialist near “the Cyclone,” a device used in refineries to separate oil and gases.
A spark ignited the fumes around the cyclone, causing an intense fire.
“Mr. Salache made sure that all of his crew was out of harm’s way forcing him to damage his lungs via severe smoke inhalation,” the suit states. “Additionally, while trying to get himself to safety he injured his back.”
The suit asserts Innovative Ventilation’s (known as smug busters around the refinery) equipment caused the fire.
All the defendants are faulted for negligently failing to provide Salache with a safe place to work.
The suit further accuses the defendants of gross negligence and malice, entitling Salache to punitive damages.
He is also suing for his alleged medical expenses, pain, mental anguish, impairment, loss of earning capacity and disfigurement.
Marathon’s refinery in Texas City was previously owned by BP – the same refinery that experienced an explosion in 2005.
Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. E-198031