The United Steelworkers (USW) and Chevron Philips Petroleum conducted a remembrance today of a horrific explosion and fire started at the Phillips petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas on this day in 1989, which took some ten hours to bring under control. There were 23 fatalities and 314 injures. Facility damages resulted in over $700 million as a result of a release of highly flammable polyethylene during a maintenance process.
“There are many for whom that day will live forever, vivid in their nightmares and waking hours,” said USW International vice president Gary Beevers. “Many were affected as they lost a family member or friend that day, while many others who work at other petrochemical facilities thought: ‘That could have been us.’”
Unfortunately, 20 years later, it is sad to note some other similar accidents in the petrochemical industry. Phillips had fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000 in the K-Resin section of the facility. In 1997 and again in 1999 the Tosco Avon refinery in California experienced fatal accidents. At Arco in Channelview, Texas in 1990, 17 workers were killed in an accident and in 1998; six workers were killed in an explosion and fire at the Equilon refinery in Anacortes, Washington. More recently the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas had a release and fire where 23 workers lost their lives in 2005 ... more