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Massive Gas Line Explosion Rocks San Francisco

Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 9:57 am    

A San Francisco gas line exploded around 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon in the Jordan Park neighborhood, swallowing the Hong Kong Lounge II restaurant and its upstairs units in flames. The spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) said multiple people were rescued during the incident. As of 3:35 p.m., the fire was out, though firefighters were still working on making sure the area was free from any secondary flashes.

The blaze from the gas line caused a column of fire that reached higher than the neighborhood’s buildings. While it burned, the SFFD worked to evacuate the area and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White noted that firefighters had to surround and douse the fire the best they could until Pacific Gas & Electric, the major energy company in Northern California, shut off the gas line. It took around two-and-a-half hours for PG&E to finally shut down the line.

By the time all the flames had been put out, four buildings had been affected.

Although cutting the line to the area affected the gas of over 300 people and electricity to over 2,500, PG&E considered shutting down a much bigger gas line, which would have made the gas outage cover the entire city.

Image via San Francisco Fire Department/Twitter

Stopping the Fire

To access the line to stop the flow of gas, PG&E crew were forced to dig underground. The company’s spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said they were able to stop the flow by pinching a 4-inch plastic gas line while also using a manual shut off.

Thankfully, there were no fatalities or injuries resulting from the blast and blaze, which is an even more remarkable feat when looking at the extensive damage done to the structure. While there was a moment of apprehension while looking for five missing workers, they were later found safe.

At this time, it is believed that the incident was caused by workers using a backhoe in front of the restaurant. While installing fiber optic cables for a nearby business, they apparently cut a natural gas line, resulting in the explosion.

Gas Line Explosions in the U.S.

While the exceptional emergency response to the San Francisco gas line explosion led to an astounding zero injuries or death, many involved in similar incidents around the country have not been so lucky.

In September of 2018, northern Massachusetts had a reported 50 homes catch fire from individual explosions covering three cities. Investigators to this event said that Columbia Gas didn’t tell workers to take pressure sensors offline before removing an old gas main from the system. That resulted in the sensors noticing the pressure drop, which told the system to increase pressure to the gas line. Mere moments after this occurrence, homes in North Andover, Andover, and Lawrence started exploding from the increased force in the pipes. One of the blasts caused a chimney to fall on top of an occupied vehicle, killing the driver. The Massachusetts explosions caused twenty-one injuries, two of which were firefighters.

On March 12, 2014, East Harlem shook shook when a gas explosion took down two five-story apartment buildings. A gas leak was identified as the cause of this blast. Eight people died, dozens were injured, and at least 100 families were displaced.

While incidents such as these used to demand much more attention from the news, gas line and gas pipeline accidents have become far more common in the U.S. since the early 2000’s. Rural, metropolitan, and suburban areas are all at risk from any number of errors caused by gas and energy distribution. These have lead to extensive deaths, injuries, and property damage across the country, and there may be little to slow down these occurrences as our culture becomes increasingly dependent on gas, oil, natural gas, electricity, and other forms of energy.

Seeking Legal Counsel for Compensation After a Gas Explosion

If you were injured in a gas explosion or fire, or a loved one was hurt or died in one, you may be offered a settlement by the company at fault for your pain and suffering. However, settlement amounts are determined by insurance companies, corporate lawyers, and their clients. Their best interest is rarely to ever fully rectify a situation. Instead, they are looking at their bottom line. And once someone accepts a settlement like this, they are also forced into waiving their rights to ever sue the company again should any long-term injuries or complications arise.

With over three decades of experience in cases involving workplace accidents, personal injuries, wrongful death, and serious explosions, the attorneys at Williams Kherkher will fight for your rights as the injured or bereaved to help you receive full compensation.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation where we will discuss the specifics of your case and determine your best course of action.  Call (713) 230-2200.  

 


Fort Worth Woman Killed in Recycling Plant Accident

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 8:39 pm    

A Fort Worth woman was tragically killed in a recycling plant accident on January 31.  A stack of one-ton recycled bales were unstable and two of them fell, crushing the woman instantly.  Officials at the recycling plant have said they will cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

A Similar Accident Killed A 42-Year-Old Man Just A Month Earlier

A month before the accident in Fort Worth, a man was also killed in a similar way. In another recycling plant, a group of recycled bales dislodged and fell on a 42-year-old man. These bales weighed 1000 lbs each and crushed him, killing him instantly.  

Whenever these types of fatal accidents happen, companies are required to report them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That organization then investigates the incident, how future accidents like those can be prevented, and if it was a preventable or unpreventable accident.   

Can The Family Of The Employee That Was Killed Receive Death Benefits?

Fortunately, the government requires companies to carry workman’s compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to protect employees in the case of a work-related injury or death. If they are injured then this type of insurance can cover medical costs and lost wages. When a death occurs it means that a spouse or children will usually be eligible to receive benefits.

Some of the purposes that the money received can be used for include covering the burial expenses of the deceased. For the widowed spouse, it can be used to pay for daily expenses to help replace the lost wages of the deceased until the living spouse remarries. In some cases, the living spouse can get a lump sum compensation.

Most people agree that the workman’s compensation is beneficial.  Although one of the primary drawbacks is the fact that under workman’s compensation the family of the deceased is usually not able to sue the company. This means that even if the company was found to be negligent, the family may not be able to sue for any additional compensation even though the accident was the company’s fault.

Compensation and Justice for a Loved One

Tragedies like these are devastating for a victim’s family. These accidents are often caused by negligence or unenforced work safety rules.   If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, call us for a free consultation.  You may be entitled to compensation.  We’ve been handling workplace accidents and explosions since 1983.  Call our lawyers at Williams Kherkher today at (888) 220-0640 to learn more about work-related deaths or injuries and what can be done to receive compensation and justice.


Fatal Accident Claims A Colorado Man In Oklahoma Drilling Explosion Adding To Its Deadly History

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 12:04 pm    

oklahoma drilling explosion killed a colorado man

Photo via Tulsa’s KOTV/NewsOn6.com

With as many as 60 workers being killed in Oklahoma while working on oil and gas drilling sites in just a five-year period, this latest incident adds fuel to this industry’s deadly history. The contractor alone Patterson-UTI has had an average of one worker a year has died over the last decade. This most recent incident was the worst in the States history with five workers instantly killed in an incident. More than 16 other workers were injured and one needed to be airlifted to a hospital by helicopter.

Patterson-UTI’s Safety Record According to OSHA

The company involved in running this rig has the worst safety record in the industry according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, they have seen almost $400,000 in fines for safety violations over the last decade. Many of the more than 140 safety violations that they have been charged with were considered serious. According to company officials, however, Patterson-UTI has vigorously worked to improve its operations along with training and implementing safety practices.

Worst Safety Record In Industry History

The company says that they have quite literally invested millions of dollars to raise their level of training as well as providing protective equipment and instilling a culture of safety among its employees. Even if this is a fact, according to data from OSHA this company is one of the country’s worst violators of safety laws in the workplace.

Oklahoma is not the only state where this company has had a slew of on-site deaths occur. According to one report put out by a US Senate committee the company had 13 deaths occur with their employees in accidents on rigs located in the state of Texas. These deaths occurred over the course of only four years. That alone is a horrendous record.

Another report indicated that 20 employees of this company had died over a five-year period between the years 2002 and 2007. When compared to similar businesses, Patterson-UTI had more than four times the death rate. That is a difference that is very difficult to account for.

Both Federal And State Agencies Investigating The Explosion

This terrible explosion happened at a natural gas drilling rig located in Quinton which is approximately 100 miles Southeast of the City of Tulsa. Although it is still under investigation and no final determination as to its cause has been made, there is a preliminary report indicating that there was an uncontrolled release of gas that led to the explosion and broke out into a raging fire. One of the on-site workers attempted to engage a mechanism that would shut down the well but he was unsuccessful at doing so.

Investigators found the bodies of the five workers who were all located in a room commonly called the dog house. It was used as an office for the crew according to authorities. This incident is considered to be the most deadly since the industrial accident that occurred in 2002 in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 workers.

Oil And Gas Companies Are Inherently Careless On Safety

According to attorneys who specialize in catastrophic workplace accidents, work safety takes a second seat to production.  Employees will continue to be at risk of injury and death until safety regulations are enforced.Oil And Gas explosion accidents - Williams Kherkher lawyer

Inexperienced Workers are Sometimes Blamed For the Accidents

Industry experts say some companies have a difficult time maintaining qualified workers. For this reason, they end up hiring inexperienced workers. This inexperience makes accidents more prevalent.

Often new workers are not only unfamiliar with the safety protocols but also do not understand the common lingo for communicating on the rig. This can lead to fatal mistakes and serious accidents. Companies seriously need to implement substantial training programs that all new workers must complete successfully before working on a rig.

Losing a loved one or suffering a serious injury is devastating. Frequently, people do not want to seek legal help, but just talking with an attorney can help determine if you can get justice and compensation for you or a loved one who has been harmed in a workplace accident or explosion. Let the lawyers at Williams Kherkher get the justice that you deserve. Call us at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.  There is a never a charge unless we win financial awards on your behalf.


Two Workers Burned at an Industrial Plant Explosion In Conroe Last Thursday

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 11:03 am    

Chemical Plant Explosion

Two workers were severely burned in an electrical malfunction which caused a fire at Aegion Coating Services, an industrial plant in Conroe, TX on Thursday.

Emergency personnel from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to the fire that started at an industrial plant in Conroe. Two workers that were performing repairs on an electrical panel suffered electrical burns when there was a flash explosion from inside the panel. The exact cause of the explosion and fire is yet to be determined, but it did originate from the related work that was being done on the panel.

According to the Fire Marshal from Montgomery County, interviews will need to be conducted to find out the exact source of the blaze and determine what actions were the root cause. The panel contained high-voltage circuits and supplies current to several large manufacturing machines. A flash fire erupted and burned the personnel in mere seconds. First responders mentioned that the current was typically about 400 volts passing through that panel. Both of the workers were reported to be in stable condition at the Texas Medical Center hospital later in the day.

Industrial Plants Are Major Sources Of Accidents and Injuries

The workplace, and particularly industrial workplaces, can be dangerous. Owners and managers need to pay special attention to incidents that could result in accidents and injuries to their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is tasked with investigating and preventing workplace accidents in the US., but in no way can they, or do they, prevent tragic workplace accidents.

Several common injuries are simpler to prevent, such as lifting objects that are too heavy or in an improper manner and straining the back or damaging spinal discs that can permanently  disable a worker. In these types of injuries, it’s long-term training of supervisors and employees that help curtail injuries. It’s always better to take a little more time and get the right tools and help when lifting heavy objects.

Fatigue is another problem in the workplace. Breaks are mandatory, whether the employee thinks so or not. It’s important for management to realize that employees that are fatigued are at higher risk and are involved in more accidents.

In an industrial plant such as Aegion Coating Services, there are also plenty of possible toxic gases if any of their flammable coatings catch fire. They specialize in anti-corrosion coatings for pipelines that are sold throughout the world anywhere that oil and gas products are produced or refined.

Preventing fires from spreading in an industrial plant requires a focus on safety. Keeping sources of fires, such as electrical panels, located farther away from flammable liquids and fumes helps keep fires contained to their original sources.

OSHA makes regular visits to all manufacturing facilities and makes sure that exhaust fans, dust collectors, and other safety measures are working, well maintained and inspected.

Welding, Electrical, and Flame Sources Limited

Many fires are caused not by the usual activities of the industrial plant but instead by service workers. These workers are usually third-party contractors that are unaware of flammables and use tools that create what is called “hot work” in prohibited areas. Sometimes the repair work is unavoidable but safety can be increased by limiting exposure to flammable gasses, liquids, and combustible dusts.

The Oil And Gas Industry Experiences and Accidents

While the oil and gas industry has had a steady decline in the number of accidents per year, they are still struggling to become safer for their employees.  Surprisingly, one of the most dangerous parts of the entire industry is driving motor vehicles on the road. Yearly nearly 18% of all deaths in the industry are attributed to motor vehicle accidents on roadways.

And sadly, not wearing seat belts, an easily preventable mistake, is a major reason for deaths on the road. Fatigue while driving is the second most preventable cause of those accidents and could be prevented with more breaks, less time pressure, and other fatigue countermeasures that are being studied.

Other accidents that happen on oil rigs, both onshore and offshore, have been reduced in recent years due to heavy use of machines that do much of the heavy lifting, plus more safety requirements to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions. As the industry gets more automated, with fewer workers and more machines, there should be a continued decline in accidents and injuries.

Hurt in an Industrial-Related Accident? We Can Help

The lawyers at Williams Kherkher have been handling explosion accident injuries in Houston, Texas and nationwide for years. We also handle cases such as car/truck accidents, wrongful death, and work injuries. Visit our office today or call (713) 230-2200 for a free consultation.


State Fire Marshal Completes Investigation on Sweetwater Explosion

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 at 4:44 pm    

Cell phone footage taken after a home exploded

Image via ktxs.com

A home on Tanya Street in Sweetwater, TX exploded over the weekend. Cellphone footage showed the house smoldering as it was engulfed in flames.

A gas leak was the main cause of the explosion and destroyed the home of Harry and Viv Littleton.

The couple was inside their house on Saturday when the gas line spontaneously exploded. The two of them and their dog Sugar were able to escape the blast with minor injuries.

Harry said that they stepped out and walked across glass and nails.

The Sweetwater Fire Department on Monday morning said that the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office had finished their initial investigation of the incident. According to the fire officials, the Littletons hired a contractor to work on their gas line recently. They also said that the explosion was caused by a gas leak in the attic.

Investigators would not release the contractor’s identity.

Atmos Energy said they took readings in the area surrounding the Littleton’s home after the explosion. They also turned the gas off at one of the homes in the neighborhood that had a leak unrelated to Saturday’s accident.

Starting Over Again for the Littletons

Meanwhile, the Littletons are now looking to rebuild their home and lives. They may have lost their belongings in the explosion, but still have each other. And that’s all that matters to them.

Gas Leak Explosions in Texas Dating Back to 2006

Since 2006 a number of homes in north and central Texas have blown up along a network of pipelines operated by one of the largest gas companies in the United States.This led to nine deaths and 22 injuries.

The Atmos Energy Corp. has some of the country’s oldest pipes and largest divisions. One of these divisions, Atmos Mid-Tex, has received many state safety violations as Houston’s Centerpoint. These safety violations have been denied by Atmos Energy, stating that said violations cited by state regulators have already been fixed. They also said in a statement that their employees “wake up every day resolutely dedicated to our mission to keep people safe.”

Records show that Atmos Energy seldon owns up for explosion incidents, putting blame on outside sources such as bad weather, poor soil conditions in North Texas, lightning strikes, and mysterious sources of underground gas. As for the older pipes, the company said they pipes aren’t sources of issues and that there was only one incident that occurred involving pre-140 pipes.

Although we’d like to replace all older pipelines immediately, just like with replacing older roads and bridges, replacing pipe takes time and resources,” the company said in a statement.

Gas Leaks Explosion lawyer - williamskherkher

How to Prevent Gas Leaks

Checking your home for gas leaks is crucial. Neglecting this can cause accidents and fires. Causes of leaks include appliances with poor ventilation, appliances that were not properly installed, and faulty pipes.

Here are some ways on how to protect you and your family from a potential gas leak.

  1. Regularly check your appliances – Check your appliances regularly and make sure they are in good condition. Replace appliances showing wear and tear.
  2. Watch for the signs of leaks The number one sign of a leak is when you smell the gas in the air or in different parts of your house. Likewise, be aware of appliances that have components that look burnt.
  3. Monitor your gas lines – Call a trusted professional to look into your gas lines. Make sure to get the report of your gas appliances.
  4. Turn off the gas supply if you notice a leak.
  5. Do not smoke – Especially if you can smell a hint of gas at your home.

Losing Someone in an Explosion Accident

Explosions don’t just happen in industrial plants. You or your loved one might be at risk of gas leaks at home and sometimes these incidents happen due to another party’s negligence.

Nevertheless, if you have been injured or lost a loved in a gas explosion,  Williams Kherkher is here to help. We have been handling cases covering explosion accidents in Texas, workplace injury, and vehicle accidents for over 30 years. Visit our office or contact us today for a free consultation.  (713) 230-2200.


Wrong-Way Driver Killed After Making a U-Turn, Slams Into Divider and Burst Into Flames

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 5:00 pm    

car accident in 91 Freeway

Photo via Southern California News Service

A driver was killed on Sunday when the car made a U-turn on the on the 91 Freeway in California.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatcher, the car struck a concrete divider head-on and burst into flames.

The CHP received a call at approximately 4:43 AM about a car heading westbound in the eastbound lane of the 91. CHP dispatcher Samantha Brown said that the driver made a U-turn near the Lakeview Avenue exit in Anaheim Hills.

Tragedy at Dawn

The driver was apparently speeding and heading up through the Anaheim freeway where they crashed into a central divider nearby Euclid Street exit.

All lanes were closed for about an hour and the westbound side was later opened after firefighters put out the flames. At 9:25 AM, the freeway was entirely open.

Wrong-way driver killed when car makes U-turn on 91 Freeway

Photo via Southern California News Service

Details of the Person Involved are Still Unknown

The driver’s identity is still under investigation and it’s still not clear if there was alcohol or drugs involved in the incident.

Wrong-Way Crash on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim Prior to the Incident

This is the second wrong-way accident on the 91 Freeway on the same day.

The CHP received a call at 3:01 AM about a car going the wrong way (eastbound to westbound lane) neary Gypsum Canyon Road and 211 toll road. The result was a multi-vehicle crash that left four people hospitalized. Two victims suffered major injuries.

A man who was suspected to be driving under the influence was arrested after hitting another vehicle that was stopped in traffic during the aftermath of the collision.

All lanes were open again at 4:47 AM.

Curbing Wrong-Way Driving

The Highway Federal Administration has provided a list of agencies and their respective programs and methodologies in keeping wrong way driving at bay from Guidelines for Reducing Wrong-Way Crashes on Freeways to Wrong-Way Driving Special Investigation Report compiled by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Get the Help that You Need with our Vehicle Accident Attorneys in California

Incidents like wrong-way driving are often caused by a person’s negligence. Losing a loved one in this type of accident is devastating. Let our car accident lawyers at Williams Kherkher help fight for you and bring justice to your side.

Call us today at (888) 220-0640 for a free and confidential case evaluation.


Natural Gas Explosions in Texas Brings Forth a Series of New Bills

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 3:21 pm    

deadly natural gas company explosions Brings Forth a Series of New Bills

Following a number of deadly natural gas company explosions in Texas, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed a series of bills that will help increase oversight of natural gas companies in Texas.

A Series of Serious Explosions

In January of 2018, a family in North Texas was lucky to escape serious injuries when their home exploded. According to NBCDFW, hours before the explosion, the family already reported the smell of natural gas and a crew from Atmos Energy arrived to investigate.

The crew dug up the road in front of the house to find the leak while the family remained inside their home. Despite the lingering smell of natural gas, officials told them that it is safe for them to stay inside. By 3 AM, they’d asked the workers if it was still safe for them to stay because they were worried about the still-apparent smell of natural gas in the air. The workers said that there is no reason for them to evacuate.

Assured, the family went back to sleep but two hours later, they were awoken with the sound of an explosion and their house on fire.

In Stephenville, Texas, Russell McElyea suffered severe burns when his home exploded. The incident happened in the summer of 2017 when McElyea’s friend, Raul Pedroza lit the stove to cook lunch. There was an explosion, and McElyea still managed to carry his friend out the front door before the back of the house exploded. According to the two friends, they didn’t smell gas before they light up the stove.

A 12-year-old girl, Linda Michellita Rogers, also died last year in a home explosion that was linked to a gas leak.

Atmos Energy Fined

State regulators have fined Atmos Energy $16,000 over safety violations that led to the Irving house explosion last year.

For McElyea and Pedroza’s situations, the case against Atmos Energy is still ongoing.

The Bills

Rep. Anchia said that there are two bill groups — the first group deals with the Railroad Commission as an effective regulator while the second group will deal with the operators of natural gas pipelines that aim to reduce the risk of explosions. The bills are also said to increase transparency both at the Railroad Commission level and among operators. Through this, individuals may check their neighborhoods for leaks and report them immediately to gas companies.

Rep. Anchia also said that rusted, corroded, or faulty pipes in the state must be immediately replaced and infrastructure should meet 21st century standards.

Another important part of Anchia’s legislation would require gas companies to report leaks to the public in real-time through an interactive map.

deadly gas explosions attorneys

Who’s Liable?

Gas explosions often result in traumatic and fatal injuries, and severe burns frequently affect the quality of life of the victim.

In most cases, these explosions can easily be traced to the negligence of an individual or company. However, in the case of the Texas explosions that were mentioned, there is a strong possibility that the company is at fault.

Either way, having the right legal representation to help you recover from a gas explosion is very important.  The legal team at Williams Kherkher has experienced natural gas explosion attorneys that can help you get the compensation and justice that you are entitled to if another party is at fault.

We have dealt with many natural gas explosions over the last 30 years and would be honored to help you and your family fight for your right to live an explosion-free life.

We offer free consultations which you can start by calling us today at (888) 220-0640.


Bus-Train Crash Leaves Student Dead in East Texas

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 12:41 pm    

bus-train crash accident in Texas

Photo via KLTV

Last Friday afternoon in East Texas, a thirteen year old student was tragically killed and two people injured after a bus and train collided.

The collision occurred around 4pm at a train crossing in Athens.

Thirteen Year Old Among Killed in the Crash

The teenager killed in the crash was a 13-year-old male according to Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill. One of the injured persons was a 9-year-old girl from a nearby elementary school. She was taken to the nearest Dallas hospital and is listed as stable. She was pinned against the side of the bus after the train was hit leading to her injuries. At the time of the accident, no one else was aboard the bus based on official reports by the school district. The second injured person was the bus driver and he was taken to the hospital with his condition being listed as stable.

At this time, the children’s names have not been released to the public. The bus driver is a 78-year-old male named John Stevens.

Investigations Underway

Athens school district Superintendent Blake Stiles said investigative work was being conducted to better understand the cause of the crash and what could have been done to prevent it.

Train Crossing Doesn’t Have a Warning Light, According to Preliminary Investigation

Preliminary findings note the train crossing does not have a set of warning lights and/or wooden gate arms to help signal the presence of a train. However, there are signs around the area along with a camera.

The school district also released a statement on behalf of the school. They wished to express their sorrow for what transpired and how it has impacted the students and their loved ones. They also stated what actions were taken to transport the injured student to the local children’s hospital in Dallas and said she was from nearby Central Athens Elementary.

The Independent School District canceled all of its athletic events to show respect to the families.

Initial findings also come from in-depth investigative work on the accident and how it took place. Pictures revealed the impact occurred in the middle of the bus as it was going past the train crossing in Athens. The bus was carried a substantial distance upon impact before the train could fully stop. According to professionals, the measured distance was approximately 0.25 miles before the freight train eventually managed to stop. Emergency services were quick to act by reaching the crossing in minutes and removing the injured persons for further treatment. Student killed in school bus train crash in Athen TX

Photo via KLTV

Bus Unable to Cross in Time

Based on witness reports, initial findings also uncovered the actions of the bus driver at the time of the accident. It appeared the bus driver waited as required by state law, however, was unable to get across in time as the train came through. With no warning lights/arms to help alleviate this collision, the bus was unable to get across before the train came through at full speed.

Union Pacific Railroad Will Help with the Investigation

Union Pacific Railroad will be assisting with the investigation.  Their report will be used to determine what occurred. The Athens Police Chief offered a detailed explanation of how the investigation would take place and what experts would look into.  According to him, the police would assess the various signal boxes, signage, and review video recorded by a nearby camera to see what happened moments before the accident.

Athens police hope to uncover additional details on the collision.  The Superintendent claimed this was one of the worst days of his career after spending 21 years in the district.

Along with the investigations done around this particular train crossing in Athens, officials will also be monitoring similar train crossings around the area to better understand what’s required to improve public safety. The officials plan to announce information with regards to this research in the coming weeks as more information is made available.

Get Justice for Your Loved One

Williams Kherkher has been helping victims and families of train accidents for over 30 years.   Contact us if you have any questions or we can help with a loved one injured or killed in a train accident.  There’s never any fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.  Get in touch with us today if you have lost a loved one from a train accident in Texas, Call us now at (888) 220-0640.


Authorities Investigating Oklahoma Rig Explosion, Deadliest U.S. Drilling Accident In Years

Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2019 at 9:11 am    

Patterson-UTI rig inspection after deadly explosion in Oklahoma

Photo via StateImpact Oklahoma

In southeastern Oklahoma about 100 miles , a natural gas drilling rig exploded and caught fire. This deadly explosion resulted in the death of five of its workers and injury of 16 others.  Tragically, it’s one of the country’s deadliest onshore drilling accident in years.  Patterson-UTI Energy, of Houston, owns and operates the drilling rig, which exploded and caught fire about 8:45 a.m on Monday, January 25.

Oklahoma Law Change Regarding Worker’s Compensation and Liability

A day after the explosion, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court struck down a portion of the state’s workers compensation law, ruling 8-0 that oil and gas companies can be sued when workers are injured or killed. Oklahoma law holds operators responsible for well site safety, not contract drillers or oil-field service companies.

An Uncontrolled Gas Release Is Believed To Have Caused The Explosion

Although the incident is under investigation, a preliminary report indicates that it may have been due to an uncontrolled gas release. One of the commissioned investigators found evidence to support that the fire that ultimately engulfed the rig was fueled by the uncontrolled gas release. One of the rig workers tried to turn on a device that can shut off the well but he was not able to activate it.

A black plume of smoke that came from the fire blacked out the visibility of the area for miles. The fire was so intense that it actually made it difficult for the emergency crews who had to hold back for hours. In addition to the five who were killed, there were several workers who were injured. One of those had to be taken to the hospital by helicopter. According to the county sheriff, these workers ran after hearing a loud boom and then seeing a raging fire break out.

The five men who died as a consequence of this accident ranged in age of 26 years old to 60 years old. They were all in a control room that was near the drilling platform. The incident is considered a real tragedy and the company was reported as saying that they are absolutely devastated by it.

Employees And Company Executives Deeply Saddened

This tragedy is the most deadly of its kind in Oklahoma’s history, and the employees there say that they are deeply saddened by the death of their colleagues. The company’s president and CEO have pledged that the company will do an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the accident and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. They said that employee safety, as well as the safety of partners, are of utmost importance.

Patterson-UTI Has One Of The Worst Safety Records In Drilling History

Despite the executive’s exertion that they are committed to a substantial investigation, the company itself is plagued by the worst safety record in the history of drilling. This is according to data shown by the Occupational Safety And Health Administration. In recent years a subcommittee of the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions showed that 12 deaths have occurred in just the state of Texas alone with this company. OSHA has records on file showing a number of violations at some of the company’s drilling sites in Oklahoma.

Drilling Jobs Are Dangerous

In general, oil and gas drilling is a dangerous profession. In just the state of Oklahoma, there have been at least 60 workers in five years who have died while working at oil and gas drilling sites. This statistic is according to information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rising death toll associated with this work spurred a voluntary Statewide shutdown. During the shutdown, all drilling activity came to a halt. The purpose was to give crews the opportunity to review safety procedures and standards.  Hopefully this tragedy will lead to improved work environments and more stringent safety regulations.

If you or a loved one is a victim of an explosion, let Williams Kherkher help you out.   We have been handling major plant explosion victims since 1983.  Learn your rights.  Call for a free confidential consultation at (713) 230-2200.


UL Lafayette Volunteer Coach and One Other Killed in 18 Wheeler Truck Wreck

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at 4:56 pm    

Car Wreck

A volunteer assistant coach was killed in a five-vehicle wreck on Interstate 10. Geri Ann Glasco was the daughter of University of Louisiana at Lafayette softball coach Gerry Glasco and was one of the two people killed in the wreck that happened on Thursday.

“We are devastated by this news, and are focused on supporting Coach Glasco and Vickie, their family and our softball program,” UL Director of Athletics Bryan Maggard said. “We all loved Geri Ann and the spirit she brought to the Ragin’ Cajuns family while positively impacting our student-athletes. We are praying for the Glasco family during this remarkably difficult time.”

Geri Ann Shows Great Potential as Both Athlete and Coach

Geri Ann Glasco

Image via BRENT DRINKUT/Statesman Journal

The softball community is devastated of her passing.

Alisa Goler Perrin, Penn State assistant coach and former Georgia softball player said that the Glasco family are “some of the most genuine and kind-hearted people.”

“My heart is broken. We are devastated by this news, and are focused on supporting Coach Glasco and Vickie, their family and our softball program,” UL Director of Athletics Bryan Maggard said. “We all loved Geri Ann and the spirit she brought to the Ragin’ Cajuns family while positively impacting our student-athletes. We are praying for the Glasco family during this remarkably difficult time.”

Alabama’s Staci Ramsey also gave her prayers to Glasco’s family through Twitter. The rest followed suit, including The National Pro Fastpitch and Syracuse assistant coach Miranda Kramer.

“The NPF extends its deepest condolences to @RaginCajunsSB & the family of Geri Ann Glasco, who was killed this morning in a car accident. The 20th overall pick in the 2016 NPF Draft, she was a tremendous influence of the game of softball & will be dearly missed by our community.” NPF said from their Twitter account.

Miranda Kramer tweeted: “It is a sad day in the softball world. My thoughts and prayers go out to @GerryGlasco and the UL family. Geri Ann will be so deeply missed. I will definitely be holding my loved ones a little bit tighter today!”

A Crash that Ended Geri Ann’s Life

The crash that ended Geri Ann’s life happened after 1:00 AM on Thursday involving an 18-wheeler truck that failed to slow down when it encountered a traffic the I-10. The driver hit the back of a Dodge Ram driven by Brian McNeil who also died from his injuries.

Glasco’s 2017 Ford Escape struck the back of a second 18-wheeler.

Officials are still investigating the main cause of the accident.

Truck and Cars – A Deadly Highway Combination

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants.  Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars, which alone can be a cause of fatalities in car wrecks involving smaller vehicles. The capability of a truck’s brakes can be another factor. Poorly maintained brakes or slippery roads create greater risks, as does driver fatigue and substance abuse.

Losing Someone in a Vehicle Accident

Cases involving big rig trucks are usually more complex than accidents involving only passenger vehicles. 18-Wheeler truck accidents typically involve more than two parties. If a truck driver works in a transportation agency, their employer may be liable for the accident. However, cases like these are time sensitive and seeking the help of a trusted law firm is essential.

Williams Kherkher has been helping truck accident victims since 1983.  We also handle cases such as workplace accidents, explosions, car accidents, and construction injuries. Call us now at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (888) 220-0640 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.