Flint Hills Oil Refinery Fire Highlights Community-Wide Risks

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Burn Injury, Catastrophic Injury, Oil and Gas Accident, Oil and Gas Incidents, Oil Refinery Injuries

An oil refinery fire in Flint Hills, Texas in March grabbed headlines due to its potential impact on the environment, community, and economy. The Flint Hills Resources refinery, located near Houston, experienced a massive blaze that led to widespread concern and emergency response efforts. Refinery fires like this one underscore the potential risks and consequences associated with industrial accidents in the oil and gas sector.

Incidents like this one also highlight the importance of robust emergency response capabilities, environmental safeguards, and regulatory oversight. Each of these is crucial to prevent and mitigate incidents, injuries, and community impacts.

Below, the oil refinery injury attorneys at Kherkher Garcia provide information on the Flint Hills incident, explore the risks associated with oil refinery fires, and provide insight into what victims can do if they experience an oil refinery fire injury.

Flint Hills Oil Refinery Fire Information

The Flint Hills Resources refinery is situated in the southeastern part of Houston, an area known for its extensive oil and gas industry infrastructure. The refinery is a crucial part of the region’s energy production and distribution network.

The fire on March 27, 2024 was reported to be significant, with flames visible from a distance and plumes of smoke rising into the air. The size and intensity of the blaze posed challenges for firefighting efforts. It also raised concerns about air quality in the surrounding areas. Emergency responders, including firefighters and hazardous materials teams, were mobilized to contain the fire. They were successful in preventing its spread to other parts of the refinery or neighboring areas.

Nearby residents and communities were affected by the fire, both due to the potential health risks from smoke and air pollution and the disruption caused by emergency response efforts. Refinery fires can release harmful pollutants into the air and waterways, posing environmental risks to ecosystems and public health. Containment and cleanup efforts were essential to mitigate the environmental impact of the incident.

Following the fire, investigations were launched to determine the root cause of the incident and assess any lapses in safety protocols or regulations. The exact cause of the fire was initially unclear and subject to investigation. Additionally, cleanup and recovery efforts were necessary to restore normal operations at the refinery and address any lingering environmental or safety concerns.

What are the Hazards Associated with Oil Refinery Fires?

Oil refinery fires pose numerous hazards to both human health and the environment. Here are some of the key hazards associated with these fires:


Oil refinery fires can lead to explosions due to the ignition of flammable gases or vapors. These explosions can cause significant damage to equipment, structures, and surrounding areas, as well as pose a direct threat to personnel working at the refinery.

Toxic Smoke and Fumes

The combustion of hydrocarbons in oil refinery fires releases toxic gases and particulate matter into the air. Inhalation of these pollutants can cause respiratory problems, irritation of the eyes and throat, and other adverse health effects. Depending on the chemicals involved, long-term exposure to certain toxins may also increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses.

Heat and Radiation

The intense heat generated by oil refinery fires can cause burns and heat-related injuries to personnel working in the vicinity. Additionally, fires may emit infrared radiation, which can cause thermal burns to exposed skin and ignite nearby flammable materials.

Chemical Exposure

Oil refineries handle a wide range of hazardous chemicals, including hydrocarbons, sulfur compounds, and volatile organic compounds. During a fire, these chemicals can be released into the environment in both gaseous and liquid forms. This poses risks to nearby communities and ecosystems. Exposure to these chemicals can result in acute poisoning, chemical burns, and other health problems.

Structural Collapse

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can weaken the structural integrity of buildings, storage tanks, and other infrastructure at the refinery, increasing the risk of collapse. Structural failures can spread the fire and release additional hazardous materials into the environment.

Environmental Contamination

Oil refinery fires can result in the release of pollutants into the soil, water, and air, causing contamination of land and waterways. This contamination can have long-term ecological impacts, affecting wildlife habitats, soil fertility, and water quality.

Secondary Hazards

Oil refinery fires may also pose secondary hazards. Examples include the release of stored chemicals, the formation of hazardous by-products (e.g., soot, ash, and carbon monoxide), and the potential for fire suppression agents to contaminate the environment.

Oil refinery fires present complex and multifaceted risks that require comprehensive emergency response plans, effective risk mitigation measures, and stringent safety protocols to protect human health, the environment, and surrounding communities.

What Should Victims do if They are Injured in an Oil Refinery Fire?

If someone is injured in an oil refinery fire, it is crucial to prioritize their safety and seek medical attention immediately. Here are the steps victims should take:

Ensure Personal Safety

If the fire is still ongoing, victims should move to a safe location away from the flames and any potential hazards. They should avoid inhaling smoke or fumes and seek refuge in an area with clean air if possible.

Call for Help

Victims or bystanders should call emergency services to report the fire and request medical assistance. It is essential to provide accurate information about the location of the fire and the nature of any injuries. This helps ensure a swift response from emergency responders.

Administer First Aid

If trained in first aid, individuals can provide basic medical assistance to injured victims while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. This may include stopping bleeding, providing CPR if necessary, and stabilizing any fractures or injuries.

Follow Medical Advice

Once emergency medical personnel arrive on the scene, victims should follow their instructions and cooperate with the medical assessment and treatment process. It is essential to provide accurate information about the nature and extent of the injuries to ensure appropriate medical care.

Document Injuries

Victims should try to document their injuries as soon as it is safe to do so. This may include taking photographs of any visible wounds or injuries. Victims can also document any symptoms or pain following a fire.

Seek Legal Assistance

In cases where an injury occurs due to negligence or unsafe conditions at the refinery, victims may consider seeking legal advice. An injury attorney helps victims understand their rights and options for compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide guidance and representation throughout the legal process.

Prompt action and prioritizing medical care are essential for victims injured in an oil refinery fire. Seeking medical attention promptly can help minimize the severity of injuries and improve the chances of a successful recovery.

How can an Oil Refinery Injury Attorney Help Me After an Oil Refinery Fire Injury?

An oil refinery injury attorney can provide invaluable assistance to individuals who have been injured in an oil refinery fire. An attorney can help if you were working in a refinery at the time of the injury, were nearby when a fire broke out, or were impacted in the community. Here are some ways an attorney can help:

Legal Guidance and Advice

An experienced oil refinery injury attorney can provide personalized legal guidance and advice tailored to your specific situation. They will begin by explaining your rights and assessing the strengths of your case. They will then advise you on the best course of action to pursue compensation for your injuries.


Oil refinery injury attorneys have the resources and expertise to conduct thorough investigations into the circumstances surrounding the fire and your injuries. They can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and analyze relevant documents to build a strong case on your behalf.

Determining Liability

Determining liability in oil refinery fire cases can be complex. These cases often involve multiple parties such as the refinery owner, contractors, or equipment manufacturers. Your attorney can identify potentially liable parties and hold them accountable for their negligence or wrongful actions.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Oil refinery injury attorneys are skilled negotiators who can handle communications and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf. They can advocate for your rights and interests, striving to secure a fair settlement that compensates you for your damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Litigation Representation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney can represent you in court and litigate your case through trial if necessary. They will prepare legal arguments, present evidence, and advocate for your rights in front of a judge and jury to seek the compensation you deserve.

Maximizing Compensation

Oil refinery injury attorneys are dedicated to maximizing the compensation you receive for your injuries and losses. They will work tirelessly to ensure that you are fairly compensated for all economic and non-economic damages.

Get Help From an Oil Refinery Fire Injury Attorney

Dealing with the aftermath of an oil refinery fire injury can be overwhelming and stressful. At Kherkher Garcia, our injury attorneys provide support and guidance throughout the legal process. We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

The oil refinery injury attorneys at Kherkher Garcia are trusted allies and advocates who help ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Get the help you need by contacting us for a free injury consultation. Call 713-333-1030, or submit our online contact form to get started.

Image by Freepik

Schedule a free Consultation

Kevin Haynes

Kevin Haynes

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Kevin Haynes. Kevin has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 15 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Kevin is powerful and effective in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road.

Learn moreRead more articles