A Marathon Petroleum employee died tragically today after a massive fire erupted at the company’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas.
Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery Fire May Have Involved Ultraformer 3
The fatal blaze broke out sometime around 9:30 a.m., sending flames and smoke into the air across Texas City, a petrochemical hub located along the Gulf Coast about 42 miles from Houston.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, two sources told Reuters that the blaze began when workers were doing routine maintenance and a seal failed on the refinery’s 75,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Ultraformer 3 (UU-3)
UU3 is the largest of two reformers located at the Marathon Galveston Bay refinery, which are used to convert refining byproducts into octane-boosting components for gasoline.
Marathon Confirmed Worker Died of Injuries Sustained in Fire
While Marathon initially reported that all employees and contractors on site had been accounted for, the company later confirmed that one worker had died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire.
“We are deeply saddened to report that a Marathon employee has passed away as a result of the fire today at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery,” Marathon said in a statement issued earlier this afternoon.
We extend our deepest sympathies to our employee’s family, friends and co-workers, and our thoughts are with them as we all mourn his passing. The safety of our workers and the community is our top priority, and a full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident.”
The identity of the deceased has not been released. It’s also not clear if any other workers were hurt.
Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery Fire Follows Shell Deer Park Blaze
It took emergency crews just under two hours to contain the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery fire.
No shelter-in-place was issued and authorities have said there was no danger to the public; however, Texas City officials are continuing to monitor air quality in the area.
Unfortunately, refinery fires aren’t at all unusual along the Texas Gulf Coast.
In fact, less than two weeks ago, a fire at a Shell facility in nearby Deer Park sent nine workers to the hospital and caused massive plumes of smoke to billow into the air over that community.
The Shell Deer Park fire continued to burn on and off for almost three days and remains under investigation.
Marathon Galveston Bay Facility Was Site of One of the Worst U.S. Refinery Disasters
Located off the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel, Marathon’s 593,000-bpd Galveston Bay Refinery produces gasoline, distillates, aromatics, heavy fuel oil, dry gas, fuel-grade coke, refinery-grade propylene, chemical-grade propylene and sulfur.
In March 2005, the same facility – then owned by BP – was the site of one of the worst refinery disasters in U.S. history – a series of devastating explosions that claimed the lives of 15 workers and injured hundreds of others.
A subsequent investigation carried out by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board determined the BP Texas City disaster “occurred when a distillation tower flooded with hydrocarbons and was over-pressurized, causing a geyser-like release from the vent stack.”
BP ultimately agreed to pay the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration more than $21 million in penalties for safety and health violations uncovered in the wake of the Texas City refinery disaster.
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Our Undefeated Houston Refinery Explosion Lawyers are investigating the deadly Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery fire and will post an update when additional information becomes available.
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