The recent fire at the Channelview K-Solv was devastating to watch on the news. Local residents, unaware of what was happening at the time, likely feared for their safety. Meanwhile, workers at the chemical plant had to implement an emergency response.
Thick, black smoke looked over the community as the flames spread. Pending any devastating reports of workplace fatalities, there is no predictable limit to the number of injuries that may result.
Chemicals potentially involved in the fire
K-Solve provides a wealth of chemical solutions – renewable fuels, industrial tank cleaning, maritime services and chemical distribution. The company uses trucks, cars and trains to transport their supply of hazardous materials, such as:
- Chlorinated solvents
- Glycol ethers
- Mineral oils
There is a full laboratory at the Channelview facility, with chemical storage at the Deer Park location. The company reports adherence to legal standards for the environment, as well as the individuals in their employ, at both.
Severity of burn-related injuries
Individuals affected by the fire could suffer numerous conditions, some of which may be life-threatening.
Burn degrees depend on the amount of tissue damage involved. Large, fast-burning industrial fires hold the potential for additional medical concerns including:
- Hypothermia, a significantly low body temperature
- Sepsis, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream
- Contractures, joint and bone complications caused by star tissue’s effect on muscles, tendons and skin
After devastating situations like fires at the K-Solve plant and the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) just two years ago, it’s imperative to remember that injuries can lead to detrimental effects far beyond what the eye can see.
Smoke exposure and inhalation injuries
Toxic vapors form as materials burn. Those in proximity to the fire often breathe in deadly chemicals that damage the airways.
Serious cases of smoke inhalation may result in pneumonia, asthma, lung disease and congestive heart failure, among other life-threatening conditions. The mortality rate significantly increases among individuals who also exhibit external burns.
Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is committed to determining the cause of the fire. Our personal injury attorneys understand the effects catastrophic workplace injuries can have on workers and their loved ones. We will seek accountability for injured employees and residents impacted by the fire.