Late Monday night, the Blue Rhino propane gas-filling plant in Tavares, Florida, was rocked by a series of explosions that seriously injured several of the facility’s workers. According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, there were no fatalities as a result of the blasts, however, eight of the estimated twenty four to twenty six man crew working an overnight shift at the plant were taken to local hospitals with severe injuries. Of the injured, at least three have been listed in critical condition.
The Blue Rhino plant, located northwest of Orlando, refills the 20-pound propane tanks used in gas grills and had over 53,000 on site at the time of the explosions. There were also three bulk storage tanks holding approximately 30,000 pounds of liquefied propane that were damaged by the blasts but did not explode. The plant passed inspections by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in March and July with no safety violations.
Tavares Fire Chief commented on the cause of the explosions, stating “We don’t think there was any act of sabotage or anything like that. It was probably a human or equipment error.” While there has yet to be any substantial investigation as to the cause of this accident, the initial reports indicate that there may have been some negligence on the part of the company or employees in the operation of the plant.
The injuries of those employees should be covered by workers compensation insurance. However, in the event insurance coverage doesn’t exist, or is insufficient to compensate the victims of this incident for their injury, the parent company of Blue Rhino, Ferrellgas, may be held liable if the plant was operated or managed in a negligent manner. Ferrellgas spokesman Scott Brockelmeyer admitted that Ferrellgas paid a $2,295.00 fine in November of 2011 after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection discovered the absence of a component at the end of an air hose, but claimed that the problem was immediately corrected.
There are a number of negligent acts that could have caused this unfortunate accident. Poor design or improper installation of equipment and improper inspection or maintenance of the facility are just a few of the things that could have gone wrong. Ferrellgas owed their employees a duty to discover and take action to prevent dangers that were foreseeable and any failure to do so may result in civil liability.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition caused by the negligent acts of another, it is important that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine the merit and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any favorable evidence.
The qualified attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligent actions or omissions of another. If you have been injured by the negligent conduct of someone, contact the Miami personal injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.