Late Thursday, April 11, 2013, a flash fire at a natural gas facility near the town of Wick, in Tyler County, West Virginia, injured four people. Unfortunately, two of the victims later passed away from their injuries. The deceased are Bruce Phipps, 56, of Marietta, Ohio, and Raymond Miller, 43, of Jeanette, Pennsylvania.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, and the authorities continue to investigate. The facility at which the fire occurred is known as a pig receiving station. Its purpose is to catch the product in a pipeline during maintenance operations, including cleaning, using pipeline inspection gauges, or "pigs." The process is known as "pigging," and a facility like the one near Wick is sometimes called a "pigging station."
The pigging station is operated by Eureka Hunter Pipeline, LLC, a subsidiary of Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation, which is also investigating the cause of the blast. According to a press release from Eureka Hunter issued the day after the fire, "[t]he initial reports indicate that the fire was fueled by natural gas liquids that ignited in tanks during pipeline pigging operations, but was limited to above ground facilities." A link to Eureka Hunter's press release can be found here.
Contract employees' ability to seek compensation for injuries received in the work place is more lenient under some circumstances. While contract employees' families are generally entitled to workers compensation benefits as a result of the worker's death, the families may also be permitted to recover in a lawsuit against the responsible parties. A worker injured on the job or his family should consider contacting an attorney with experienced in work place injuries.
Lawyers at Hartley & O'Brien have handled similar cases over the past 32 years, and have emphasized representing workers and their families in cases involving occupational injuries, diseases, and death.