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
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."
Contract employees' ability to seek compensation for injuries received
in the workplace 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 experience in workplace 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.