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Ungrounded equipment led to fatal gas explosion in Collin Co., victim’s family alleges

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 at 2:40 pm    

COLLIN CO., TX – The family of a man killed in a natural gas explosion at an Atmos Energy facility in Farmersville late last month alleges that the fatal accident was caused by an unsafe work environment.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Deric Tarver, 35, and Ethan Knight, 22, were killed in the explosion, which happened at a facility near the intersection of FM 2756 and Highway 78 on June 28 . Two other workers were also injured in the blast.

Tarver’s employer, Fesco Petroleum, had been hired by Atmos and Bobcat Contracting to inspect part of the natural gas pipeline using a gauge colloquially known as a “pig.” The pig is inserted into a launcher and then propelled through the pipeline and into a receiving station at the other end. At the time of the explosion, Tarver was standing close to the pipeline and moving the pig forward with a pole.

His family alleges that the receiving station was not properly grounded, which caused a static spark which in turn ignited residual gas within the pipeline. They say that Atmos and Bobcat did not provide Tarver with a safe working environment, which directly led to his death.

This is not the first time that Atmos has faced similar allegations. In February 2018, an explosion in northwest Dallas resulted in the death of a 12-year-old girl. The company settled with the girl’s family out of court, after the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed a record $1.6 million fine.

This blog post is part of a series that Kherkher Garcia provides for the benefit of our neighbors across the Houston area. It is meant to keep our community informed about recent accidents throughout Texas, and should not be construed as legal advice. However, if you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, we would like to hear from you at your earliest convenience. Contact us today, online or by calling (713) 231-5640, to speak with an experienced Houston workplace explosion lawyer at absolutely no cost to you.