Puerto Rico Oil Explosion
Puerto Rico Oil Explosion Injury Lawsuits
Puerto Rico Oil Explosion | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Fires, Injury, Burns | Petroleum, Toxic, Hazardous Materials
Did the massive explosion and fire at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. facility near San Juan, Puerto Rico impact you or your family? The October 23, 2009 explosion at Caribbean Petroleum in Catano, just across the bay from San Juan, forced the evacuation of hundreds of people living in the area. Others were told to keep windows in their home closed to avoid the potentially-toxic smoke coming from the fire. As of now, the possible health consequences of the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. explosion are still being assessed.
Our law firm has represented hundreds of people who sustained financial damages and physical injuries resulting from industrial accidents like the one that occurred in Puerto Rico. Our Caribbean Petroleum Corp. explosion lawyers are already aggressively investigating this incident.
We are offering free case evaluations to anyone who was affected by the Caribbean Petroleum Co. explosion and fire in Puerto Rico. If you or a member of your family suffered injuries or property damage, or you were forced to evacuate because of this catastrophe, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact one of our Caribbean Petroleum Corp. explosion lawyers right away to protect your legal rights.
The Caribbean Petroleum Corp. Explosion and Fire
The Caribbean Petroleum Corp. is the owner of the Gulf brand in Puerto Rico. The facility where the explosion occurred is a gasoline warehouse and distribution center where jet fuel, bunker fuel and gasoline are stored. The facility also includes a 48,000 barrel-per-day (b/d) refinery, but according to the company, the refinery was not in operation at the time of the disaster.
The explosion at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. facility occurred around 12:30 a.m. According to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, the blast produced a shock wave equivalent to a 2.8 magnitude earthquake. The explosion was so strong that it tore up a nearby highway.
According to media reports, 11 of 30 to 40 storage tanks at the facility exploded. That set off a massive fire, and produced plumes of thick black smoke which could be seen for miles. Some witnesses reported that the blast created a "mushroom cloud.”
The fire grew in intensity in the hours after the blast. Eighty-five firefighters with 20 fire trucks worked to contain the fire and chill the remaining tanks to prevent further explosions. It was expected that the fire would take several days to extinguish, and there was a danger that more explosions could occur. Puerto Rican authorities requested assistance from hazardous materials specialists in the U.S.
Officials at Caribbean Petroleum reported that all employees there were safe. However, Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno said one person had required treatment for smoke inhalation, and two others suffered minor injuries at the U.S. Army's Fort Buchanan base adjacent to the fuel plant. Several drivers were also hurt when the explosion shattered glass in their cars.
People living downwind of Caribbean Petroleum were evacuated. In total, about 350 residents had to flee their homes. About 80 people living in a secure facility for Justice Department witnesses were also moved elsewhere.
Nearby schools were also closed for the day, and Puerto Ricans were urged to avoid the vicinity so the area could be kept clear for emergency vehicles. The thick smoke also prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to implement a temporary flight restriction over the area.
It is not yet known what caused the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. explosion. A local official for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said a special team from the U.S. mainland would investigate the blast. However, that investigation would not begin until the fire at the plant was extinguished.
Media outlets also reported that agents from the FBI were on the scene. Local police and the FBI were said to be looking into graffiti found after the blast in a San Juan highway tunnel with the message: "Boom, fire, RIP, Gulf." While he would not draw conclusions as to the meaning of the graffiti, a police official said the message was "a concern".
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