Corpus Christi Gas Line Explosion Injures Two Workers

by | May 31, 2024 | Explosion, Natural Gas Explosions, Oil and Gas Accident, Oil and Gas Incidents, Oil Refinery Injuries, Pipeline Explosions

A gas line explosion at a refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas has left two workers injured and prompted a significant emergency response from local authorities. The incident, which occurred on Thursday afternoon, led to traffic diversions and a shelter-in-place order for nearby residents. As emergency crews work to manage the situation and investigate the cause, the community remains on high alert.

Below, the petrochemical injury lawyers at Kherkher Garcia delve into the details of the explosion, the response from local officials, and the impact on the Corpus Christi area. We will also provide information for individuals and families who may be affected by a gas line explosion.

Corpus Christi Gas Line Explosion Details

The Corpus Christi Police Department has cancelled a shelter-in-place order for residents following a pipe explosion near a refinery on Thursday. Traffic in the area was diverted following the incident, particularly near Up River Road and McBride Lane.

The incident, which involved a gas line explosion, occurred around 2:44 p.m. on Thursday. According to Chief Billy Belyeu of the Corpus Christi Fire Department, the explosion was caused by a gas line leak on the petrochemical side, not a city line. Reports suggest that Kinder Morgan workers were performing maintenance on the line when the leak and explosion occurred.

“A 16-inch line ruptured at a local refinery,” Chief Belyeu reported. The ownership of the line is still under investigation and may take some time to determine. Maintenance crews were working on the line when the rupture occurred, resulting in injuries to two workers.

As a precaution, minimal evacuations were ordered, affecting mainly three homes in the Donna Park neighborhood. Some families in the vicinity have opted to self-evacuate, while others are adhering to the shelter-in-place directive.

Authorities are working diligently to manage the situation and ensure public safety as crews address the gas line explosion and its aftermath.

How Common are Gas Line Explosions at Oil Refineries?

Gas line explosions at oil refineries are considered “relatively uncommon”. In recent months, however, it would seem that they are becoming more frequent. The frequency of such incidents can vary based on several factors, including the age of the infrastructure, the level of maintenance, operational practices, and regulatory oversight. Here are some points to consider:

  • Infrastructure Age and Condition: Older refineries with aging infrastructure are more susceptible to failures, including gas line explosions. Regular maintenance and upgrades can mitigate these risks.
  • Maintenance Practices: Proper and regular maintenance is crucial for preventing gas line leaks and explosions. Refineries with rigorous safety and maintenance protocols tend to have fewer incidents.
  • Operational Practices: The methods and procedures used in daily operations can impact the likelihood of accidents. Safe operational practices and adherence to safety standards are critical in preventing explosions.
  • Regulatory Oversight: Regulations and safety standards set by governmental bodies play a significant role in ensuring the safe operation of refineries. Compliance with these regulations helps minimize the risk of explosions.
  • Accident Statistics: While specific statistics on gas line explosions at oil refineries are not always readily available, industry reports and government data often indicate that such incidents, though rare, do occur. For example, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigate and report on significant refinery accidents.
  • Risk Factors: Factors such as human error, equipment failure, and external influences (like natural disasters) can contribute to the risk of gas line explosions.

Overall, while a gas line explosion is not an everyday occurrence, they are serious events with significant safety, environmental, and economic implications when they do happen. The industry continually works to improve safety measures to prevent such incidents.

What Injuries are Most Likely to Occur in Gas Line Explosions?

Injuries from gas line explosions can range from minor to severe and often depend on the proximity of individuals to the blast, the nature of the explosion, and the subsequent events such as fires or structural collapses. Common injuries include:


  • Thermal Burns: Caused by the intense heat and flames resulting from the explosion.
  • Chemical Burns: If the gas involved is toxic or reactive, chemical burns can occur.

Blast Injuries:

  • Primary Blast Injuries: Result from the pressure wave of the explosion, affecting air-filled organs like lungs, ears, and the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Secondary Blast Injuries: Caused by flying debris and shrapnel, leading to lacerations, puncture wounds, and blunt trauma.
  • Tertiary Blast Injuries: Occur when individuals are thrown by the blast wind, causing blunt force trauma, fractures, and internal injuries.
  • Quaternary Blast Injuries: Include all other injuries caused by the explosion, such as burns from fires, inhalation injuries from smoke and toxic fumes, and crush injuries from collapsing structures.

Respiratory Injuries:

  • Inhalation Injuries: Breathing in hot gases, smoke, or toxic substances can damage the respiratory tract and lungs.
  • Smoke Inhalation: Can lead to respiratory distress, carbon monoxide poisoning, and long-term lung damage.

Traumatic Injuries:

  • Lacerations and Abrasions: Cuts and scrapes from debris and shrapnel.
  • Fractures and Dislocations: Broken bones and joint dislocations from the force of the explosion or being thrown by the blast.
  • Blunt Force Trauma: Injuries from impacts with objects or surfaces, leading to bruising, internal bleeding, and organ damage.

Hearing Loss:

  • Acoustic Trauma: The intense noise from the explosion can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus.

Psychological Injuries:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Experiencing a traumatic explosion can lead to long-term psychological effects.
  • Acute Stress Reaction: Immediate psychological impact, including shock, confusion, and anxiety.

Prompt medical attention is crucial for victims of gas line explosions to manage these injuries and mitigate long-term health effects. Safety measures and proper emergency response can help reduce the severity and incidence of such injuries.

Can Victims of Gas Line Explosions Recover Damages?

Yes, victims of gas line explosions can often recover damages, but the process depends on several factors including the circumstances of the explosion, the extent of the injuries or damages, and the legal framework in place. Here are some key points to consider:

Legal Liability

If the explosion was caused by negligence, victims may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. This could include the company operating the refinery, contractors performing maintenance, or even equipment manufacturers if a defect caused the explosion.

Many cases are resolved through settlements, where the responsible party agrees to pay a negotiated amount to the victim without admitting fault. Settlements can provide quicker resolution and avoid the uncertainty of a trial.

Proving negligence involves demonstrating that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to the explosion and subsequent injuries or damages.

Types of Damages

Damages that may be available to victims of a gas line explosion include:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical bills, including emergency treatment, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
  • Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income lost due to the inability to work while recovering from injuries.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life resulting from the explosion.
  • Property Damage: Coverage for repair or replacement of property damaged in the explosion.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct, courts may award punitive damages to punish the responsible party and deter future misconduct.

Workers’ Compensation

Employees injured in a gas line explosion at work may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Workers’ compensation is typically a no-fault system, meaning employees do not need to prove negligence to receive benefits.

Insurance Claims

Victims may file claims with their own insurance companies or with the insurer of the responsible party. This could include health insurance, homeowners insurance, or commercial liability insurance.

Victims of gas line explosions should seek legal advice to understand their rights and options for recovering damages. A petrochemical injury lawyer can provide guidance tailored to the specific circumstances of the explosion and the applicable laws.

Contact a Skilled Petrochemical Injury Lawyer

Hiring an experienced lawyer can help victims of gas line explosions navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies or the responsible parties. A lawyer can also represent victims in court if a lawsuit is necessary.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a gas explosion, Kherkher Garcia wants to help you protect your rights and obtain the compensation that you deserve. When negligence leads to incidents like gas explosions, victims deserve the opportunity to seek justice and compensation. Our team of petrochemical injury lawyers can help you do just that.

Contact the team of petrochemical injury lawyers at Kherkher Garcia for a free consultation. Call 713-333-1030 or complete our online contact form to get started.

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Steve Kherkher

Steve Kherkher

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Steve Kherkher. Steve has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 30 years. He has won $300 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured.

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