Bing 1
Helping the injured since 1983

Contact us at (888) 220-0640 to schedule a free consultation today.

start your evaluation

Blog

Railroad Commission of Texas Orders Atmos Energy to Investigate Couplings

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 at 7:52 am    

Image via nbcdfw.com

Atmos Energy Corporation has recently been ordered to look into their couplings in North Texas after they were connected to an explosion in Irving that destroyed a home. The order was given by the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees the safety of pipelines in the region.

The explosion took place on January 1, 2018 while Atmos crews were repairing a leaking natural gas line.

One of the workers told the family that they didn’t need to evacuate the house. Resident Alejandra de la Cruz said they told the family, “If you’re fine, then we’re fine. Everything is fine.”

A neighbor said, “It sounded like a bomb. It shook the house.”

Though the house was destroyed, the occupants, a family of five, were unharmed in the incident.

In February of 2018, the Atmos Energy Corporation denied any connection between the gas line work and the explosion. On an official investigation form, Atmos said the gas didn’t ignite or explode. However, they changed their answer later and ultimately admitted the gas did explode, noting coupling between six-inch pipes wasn’t installed correctly.

 

Atmos Energy Corporation Fined

For the event, the Railroad Commission of Texas fined Atmos $16,000. Atmos also received citations for the violating the following safety regulations:

  • Inadequate records
  • Improperly-installed pipeline
  • Delays repairing or eliminating the hazard

Atmos was told to fix these deficiencies and they were ordered to turn in a plan to correct the issues. After reviewing the plan, Texas turned down major parts of the proposed corrections in October, saying they “must investigate if this situation exists elsewhere.”

In November, Atmos replied, “Atmos Energy is reviewing our current processes and procedures […] to prevent a similar event from occurring. This review will be completed by June 30, 2019.”

The commission was unsatisfied with Atmos’ self-imposed deadline and ordered the company to finish the review by May 7, 2019.

 

Another Atmos Residential Explosion

In February 2018, a month after the incident, a second gas-line explosion happened in Dallas, which killed a 12-year-old girl. This blast led to the neighborhood being evacuated while Atmos worked on the gas lines.

Though the Railroad Commission of Texas handles pipeline safety, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the dallas explosion. However, the NTSB noted their reports usually take a year or more to conduct their inquiries.

 

Legal Representation to Seek Compensation

Atmos has not released any information about how many more of their couplings might need repairs. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see their crews working on even more gas lines in residential areas in over the next few months. If you notice that an Atmos crew is working near your home, it might be best to evacuate your home until they finish their repairs.

Should a gas line issue lead to your home being damaged or, worse, someone in your family being hurt or killed, professional legal representation is highly recommended to seek justice for their inability to keep you and your family safe. Going against such a large company on your own can prove fruitless, especially since they will have their own team of lawyers and staff doing everything they can to minimize their settlement offers.

The attorneys at Williams Hart have experience handling explosion-related injury and death litigation against entities like Atmos Energy Corporation. We are here to make sure you receive compensation for injuries and property damages to the full extent of the law.

Send us a message or call us at (713) 230-2200 to set up a consultation today.


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 Hart 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.


Fire Breaks Out in Montgomery County, Two People Injured

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at 4:46 pm    

Montgomery County plant fire

A fire broke out in a plant in Montgomery County which lead to its evacuation. The damage wasn’t sufficient enough to be a threat to the surrounding area, but all employees there were evacuated as a precautionary measure. An electrical panel exploded which led to the fire.

Two electricians were injured and had to be rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, the incident did not cause any hazardous chemicals to be leaked, so the community as a whole was safe. This is good news for all but the two who were injured.

How Common Are Work-Related Fires?

It is likely surprising to the average person to learn that there are over 3,000 workplace fires every year. These fires often lead to injuries and death.  Electrical systems are one of the leading causes of fires in the workplace.

If You Or Someone You Know Is Hurt From A Fire In The Workplace Can You Be Compensated?

Regardless of whether it’s a fire or some other reason, if you are injured your employer is required by law to cover you under workman’s compensation. If you are burned by fire or chemicals, or you’re injured from inhaling the smoke from the fire, those are injuries that should be compensated. Regardless of whether the injuries come from the fire or something else you should immediately report any and all injuries to your company and to your doctor.

What Kind Of Benefits Are Paid?

1. Medical Expenses

Any time you’re hurt at work from a fire or any other cause, workman’s compensation should pay for your visits to the doctor, for medication, and for treatment services. If your doctor decides you need to have tests run then this should also be covered. In some cases, if treatment requires travel costs then you may be compensated for that as well.

2. Temporary Disability Compensation

If your injuries cause you to be out of work then you are usually entitled to some type of disability compensation. This compensation should be paid to help cover at least part of your lost wages. When the disability is considered temporary, it is anticipated that you will be able to return to work at some point.

3. Permanent Disability Compensation

If you are determined to be permanently disabled then you’re entitled to be compensated for it. It might be that you lose part or all of certain physical abilities or mental functioning. If you had a brain injury or loss of limb or other permanent injuries, then you are entitled to be fairly compensated for your permanent disability.

4. Displacement Benefits

Most employees are unaware that if the injury causes them to be displaced and they need new training because of it, they can be compensated with a voucher to cover the cost of this retraining. This often comes when someone is found to be permanently disabled and no longer able to do the work that they were previously doing. Provided that the injury happened after 2013, there are additional benefits that may be available to you as well.

5. Death Benefits

When a family member is killed in a work-related accident, their spouse or children will be entitled to death benefits. The amount and the specifics of the compensation will depend on the situation. Under most circumstances, if these benefits are paid out by workman’s compensation, the family will not be able to sue the company for additional payment.

Work-Related Injury - fire explosion

Can You Be Treated By Your Family Physician When You Have A Work-Related Injury?

Because of the fact that many work-related injuries lead to an emergency situation, it may be that an ambulance picks you up and takes you to the hospital in which case you would be treated by the attending emergency room doctor at that time. In other cases, however, your ability to go to your own family physician will depend on whether you requested this right in writing beforehand.

Under workman’s compensation is something called ‘predesignating’. If you want to make sure that you can be seen by your family physician in the case of a work-related injury then you want to go to your company prior to any injury occurring and request the right to do this in writing. Provided that you do so, you should be able to go to that doctor should an injury at work occur.

Make Sure To Report Any Injury Immediately

When a work-related injury is significant or an emergency situation takes place, the very nature of it means that the company is notified and the person is rushed to a hospital. But in many workplace incidents, the injury is not immediately obvious and some employees will simply tell their colleague or supervisor but won’t report it officially. This is a major mistake because, under workman’s compensation, you are usually required to officially report the injury to your company within a maximum of 30 days if you want to receive compensation.

We at Williams Hart are always ready to provide our clients the resources and lawyers needed to help bring justice to their side. Call us today at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.


Enbridge Gas Explosion Causes Fireball in Ohio

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 at 4:25 pm    

Enbridge Gas Pipeline Explosion in Ohio

A fireball damaged properties and homes caused by an Enbridge natural gas pipeline in Ohio, prompting nearby residents to evacuate.

Two Homes Engulfed in Flames

Emergency management director Chasity Schmelzenbach said the explosion occurred on Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline system that destroyed two homes.

According to Schmelzenbach, they received reports of flames shooting up from 80 to 200 feet. “You could see it upwards of 10-15 miles away. Lots of people thought it was in their backyard because it does appear large.”

Fire Had Been Contained and Residents Evacuated

Two people were injured and two properties have been damaged in the fire that happened at 10:40 AM. Residents had been evacuated and the fire contained.

Enbridge’s Response

The Calgary-based natural gas company said that they did an immediate isolation of the section of the pipeline, as well as coordinating with the authorities in regards to the incident.

Enbridge Executive Vice President Bill Yardley released a statement stating that they’re “working closely with local officials to restore the incident site safely.”

Details of the explosion has already been relayed to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and it has sent an investigator to check the scene.

pipeline explosion in Ohio

Photo via Wochit News

Enbridge – Natural Gas Carrier Catering to Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Markets

Enbridge’s Texas Eastern pipeline carries natural gas from Texas and the U.S. Gulf Coast to markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Based in Calgary, Canada the company is the largest natural gas provider in the country with customers in Quebec, New York State, and New Brunswick.

They also operate the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system and are focused in the gathering, transportation, processing and storage of natural gas. Enbridge also has an increasing involvement in power transmission.

The Aftermath

It’s not yet clear if the shut-in done by Enbridge would affect clients in some densely populated locations.

A Similar Incident from British Columbia

Another fire incident on an Enbridge gas pipeline in northern British Columbia late last year resulted in numerous refineries in Washington state to temporarily shut down.

Contact Our Explosion Accident Lawyers

The lawyers at Williams Hart have been helping injured victims and their families since 1983. Our experience and resources have helped families obtain justice for their loved ones who have been injured or killed in explosion accidents.

If you have lost a loved to a workplace explosion, call us at (888) 220-0640 for a free consultation.


Water Plant Explosion And Fire

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 at 12:21 pm    

Lawrence County Water Plant Explosion

On Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019, there was an explosion in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The subsequent fire damaged the water treatment and distribution facility where the event happened. Residents living in a nearby mobile home park were left without a functioning water supply. The water facility primarily served only the Heritage Hills Mobile Home Estates. Emergency response crews, including police and firemen, were summoned to the scene.

Residents in the mobile homes previously supplied by the water plant were forced to rely on supplies provided by water buffaloes for the time being.

Workplace Fire Safety

While no one was injured or killed in this particular incident, it was still frightening for the workers and residents.  Even if power stays on, the smoke can create chaos, impact breathing, and burn your eyes. If the power does go out, automated warning systems can fail plunging the area into darkness.

Nobody goes to work expecting an emergency that day, particularly one that might happen to them. However, the reality is that emergencies like fires can happen anywhere, and in an industrial plant, explosions are a risk factor as well.

Implementing Safety Protocols

Unfortunately, incidents like this can happen to anybody anytime.  In these instances, employees and personnel onsite are immediately faced with multiple issues. What’s burning? Where is it? Do we evacuate or put it out? Are there sprinklers, containment systems, and warning devices? How long will it take for first responders to arrive? Does someone need to call them? What is the safest route of escape?

All these questions can turn into life and death matters, and there are multiple questions to be answered quickly. If the employees have been trained to follow the right protocols and plans, many fire emergencies can be prevented in the first place. However, no amount of prevention can be be foolproof, so plans must be in place that protect people and minimize property damage if and when a fire does occur.

explosion accidents attorney - williamskherkher

Making An Action Plan

Effective action plans start with brainstorming worst-case situations. A team of leaders and employees should be assembled to identify which areas where a fire might most likely start, cause the most damage, present the most danger to people on the scene and spread more quickly. An action plan should be tailored specifically to the workplace.   It might be necessary to have unique plans for each department or area. Consideration should also be given to how accessible an area might be to emergency responders summoned to the scene.

Recovery Of Costs And Compensation

Contact our lawyers at Williams Hart to learn more about filing a lawsuit regarding situations like these. Our explosion accident attorneys can also provide you with expert insight and legal guidance. If you have a loved one who has been harmed in this type of accident, we are always ready to help. 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.