Marathon Petroleum sued in Texas court over Jan. 11 refinery fire: lawyer

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A work crew supervisor filed a lawsuit against Marathon Petroleum Corp for injuries received in a Jan. 11 fire at the company’s massive Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, Texas, according to a statement from his attorney.

Samuel Solache filed the suit on Friday in state district court against Marathon, refinery manager Ray Brooks and Innovative Ventilation Systems Inc, according to Eric Newell, an attorney for Brent Coon & Associates, a Beaumont, Texas law firm.

A Marathon spokesman said on Tuesday the company does not comment on litigation.

Solache alleges equipment provided by Innovative Ventilation Systems, which is also based in Beaumont, triggered the blaze on a unit, which was out of production for an overhaul. The company supplies equipment that provides air in confined spaces, according to its website. Air has to be pumped into portions of a refinery unit while being refurbished.

An executive for Innovative Ventilation was not immediately available to answer questions about the lawsuit.

Solache suffered “severe smoke inhalation and other potentially serious injuries” while ensuring his crew was safely evacuated, according to the statement.

Solache, who is employed by a contractor doing work on the refinery, also alleges Marathon failed to provide a safe workplace as well as follow rules and practices that could have prevented the fire.

Solache seeks damages in excess of $1 million, Newell said.

Brent Coon was the lead attorney in lawsuits filed against BP Plc after a March 23, 2005, explosion at the same refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 180 other people. BP sold the plant to Marathon in 2013.

Reporting by Erwin Seba, editing by G Crosse