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Houston — Tanker Collision Causes Thousands of Gallons of Gas Product Leaking into Houston Ship Channel

Posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2019 at 7:55 am by Williams Hart   

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019, a collision between a massive tanker and two oil barges has resulted in about tens of thousands of gallons of a gasoline product leaking into the Houston Ship Channel.

According to initial reports, a 755-foot tanker collided with a tug that was pushing two barges filled with 25,000 gallons of reformate each. This occurred in the Houston Ship Channel, near Bayport, Texas. One of the barges was capsized, and it is still unclear how much of the product was leaked into the water.

Reformate is a refined product that is blended with gasoline to boost octane to achieve levels needed for commercial sales. It is an extremely flammable liquid and vapor, and it can be fatal once it’s swallowed. It’s also toxic to marine life.

Crews have now deployed roughly 3,600 feet of boom to prevent the material from spreading farther into the water.

The Galveston County Health District reported that its main priority is the health and safety of the community. A gasoline smell does not necessarily mean there is a health hazard, but nonetheless, air monitoring is still conducted.

Officials believe that it is important for residents to know how to spot symptoms of a possible health hazard caused by this accident. These symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Burning, irritation and redness of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat are other possible symptoms.

The elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory issues or weakened immune systems may be especially affected.

The United States Coast Guard will be investigating this accident further.

It is unfortunate to hear of this accident. Alas, this is not the first time that it happens. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Houston — Damaged Storage Facility Contaminates Houston Channel, Creates Cloud of Cancer-Causing Chemical

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019 at 1:35 am by Williams Hart   

A fire that broke out at the Intercontinental Terminal Co. (ITC) facility in Deer Park, Texas about a week ago has proven to be potentially more dangerous than initially thought. This is because on the one hand, it has created a large plume of black smoke that contains the cancer-causing chemical benzene and this smoke not only hangs over the city but it has also started to drift off over the eastern parts of Harris County, even reaching out as far as Austin and San Antonio. And for another, it has also caused oil byproducts to leak into the Houston Ship Channel after a dike wall collapsed because of a new fire that reignited in the facility last Friday, March 22, 2019.

As a result to these recent developments, the ship channel is closed for the meantime. Captain Kevin Oditt with the U.S. Coast Guard said that they deployed a total of 8,500 feet of boom, hoping to trap as much of the chemical waste that entered the water as possible. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, some of the waste still did make it to the ship channel’s waters, and so far, nine toxins were detected, most particularly benzene — a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor that is also a known carcinogen. Other chemicals detected were total xylenes, pyrene, anthracene, ethylbenzene, toluene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and 2-methylnaphthalene.

On Friday, ITC reported that there were still about 60,000 barrels (2.52 million gallons) of hazardous chemicals in the damaged section of the complex, and by Saturday morning, they no longer knew how much remained.

Ever since the fire broke out and the air has been contaminated with several chemicals, about 1,000 people have sought treatment at a pop-up clinic because of nausea, headaches, and other symptoms, with 15 of the most severe cases brought to hospital emergency rooms. With this, the Texas National Guard has dispatched troops to assist local authorities with air monitoring, thus prompting take-shelter alerts and road closures.

This chemical plant fire is now being considered as the worst industrial disaster since the March 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 people.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be investigating the blaze. Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is planning to file a lawsuit against ITC, accusing the latter of violating clean-air laws.

It is unfortunate to hear of this chemical plant fire and the consequences that residents are experiencing because of this. Alas, fires in industrial or manufacturing properties are common occurrences in the United States. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, municipal fire departments in the U.S. reported that an estimated average of 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing properties happen each year, with annual losses from these fires estimated at 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Furthermore, structure fires accounted for 20% of the fires, 49% of civilian deaths, 80% of civilian injuries, and 67% of direct property damage.

Additionally, oil spills are incredibly dangerous as well. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Industrial fires and oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill/chemical plant fire, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Houston — Sims Bayou Chemical Spill Troubles Environmentalists

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2019 at 8:45 am by Williams Hart   

64,000 gallons of jet fuel escaped from a Southwest Airlines-owned fuel storage facility to Sims Bayou in Houston on Sunday, February 3, 2019, and environmental organizations have now been raising an alarm over the potential health impacts of this chemical spill.

According to Southwest Airlines, the spill was the result of a pump of malfunction at the Southwest facility that stores fuel at Hobby airport. The type of fuel that was involved in this particular accident is a Jet A fuel, a confirmed animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans. One ingredient in this fuel is naphthalene, which is listed as “immediately dangerous to life or health” at concentrations of 250 parts per million. With this, it is not yet clear what long-term impacts the spill will have on the health of the bayou and the nearby residents.

Cleanup is now ongoing in the bayou, though mitigation for this is expected to take a few weeks.

What happened at the Sims Bayou is an unfortunate thing, and it is even more unfortunate that nearby residents have to receive the brunt of this accident. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Despite tourism increase, the environment still suffers after Gulf oil spill

Posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 12:37 pm by Williams Hart   

Tourism has increased in the Gulf Coast region, the site of the infamous Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, in the years after the devastating incident; however, there is still a long way to go in repairs to the wildlife, marine life, and other industries that call the region their home, AL.com reported on May 25.

A report released in the third week of May, for instance, confirmed the link between the spill and the large die off of the bottlenose dolphin population along the northern Gulf Coast. Oil can still be found on the sea floor and in spots along Louisiana’s coast.

As a related aside, attorneys for business and personal damages claimants have recently announced an agreement to a $211 million settlement with Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, whose failure caused the explosion of BP’s Macondo well.

Our attorneys at Williams Hart are committed to helping people who have been affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Contact us today by calling (713) 352-7071 if you need help filing a claim.

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