A workplace accident can severely injure or kill employees, even those who are following all applicable safety regulations while performing their duties. Those Missouri and Illinois residents who work around fuel tanks are often at greater risk than those who work in other industries. This proved to be the case for two workers at a biodiesel manufacturer in South Roxana, Illinois recently. A flash fire and explosion broke out on the top of the fuel tank where they were working, causing injuries to both. This could lead to both filing workers’ compensation claims to help cover their expenses while recuperating physically.
The incident took place at Midwest Biodiesel Products LLC just before noon on Oct. 23. Reports indicate that the two men were busy making welding repairs at the top of the 50-foot-high fuel tank at the time the flash fire broke out. South Roxana fire officials, along with the Roxana and Hartford fire departments, reported to the company after an emergency call was made. Apparently, residual ethanol at the top of the tank—mostly filled with water—caught on fire during the welding repairs.
The owner of Interstate Petroleum, located next to Midwest Biodiesel, reported hearing a boom from the explosion, which actually shook the warehouse he owns. He said that he was able to see the flames atop the tank since he was pulling up just as the fire and explosion occurred. According to him, some of the Midwest Biodiesel employees initially attempted to fight the flash fire with a small fire extinguisher.
Once firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire, they used a ladder truck to confirm that the fire atop the tank had truly been put out. Emergency workers transported both injured workers for medical treatment. One worker suffered what were described as “multiple lacerations.” The nature of the other worker’s injuries weren’t immediately clear, but neither workers were expected to lose their lives.
Reports indicate that this wasn’t the first flash fire to occur at Midwest Biodiesel. The company supposedly had a similar incident on its premises in April 2013, although no employees were injured in that fire. This latest flash fire does have the owner of Interstate Petroleum worried, however, at the apparent pattern of such incidents.
Workers who suffer injuries in a flash fire and explosion typically have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits to help reimburse them for many expenses related to their worker injuries. This often includes medical expenses and at least a portion of lost wages while unable to work. Please consider calling my St. Louis personal injury law firm 1-888-586-7041 if you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a flash fire while on the job. We can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled. Similarly, if a third party’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries, we may be able to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the party believed to be negligent. This could provide you with much needed economic relief as you recover from your injuries.
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