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BP Refinery Blast: 5 Years Later

March 24, 2010, 10:27 am

Originally posted on click2houston.com - March 23, 2010

TEXAS CITY, Texas -- Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of a fatal explosion at the Texas City BP refinery that claimed 15 lives, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Eva Rowe lost both of her parents in the tragedy. But, she said time has helped to heal her wounds.

On Tuesday, she said she's looking forward to bringing a new life into the world. Her first child is due in June.

"I'm going to teach her about it very young, why her grandparents aren't around, not because they don't love her, but because they passed away," Rowe said.

Thanks to Rowe's persistence, the deaths of Linda Rowe, James Rowe and 13 others was not in vain.

Her court settlement made sure BP released internal documents so that others would know what caused the explosion.

It also provided millions of dollars to charitable foundations, including $12.5 million to UTMB.

"This was a terrible tragedy that happened this day. To be able to change that to good is a great gift," said Dr. David Herndon with UTMB.

Still, the refinery continues to receive OSHA fines and citations.

Rowe said she is not satisfied.

"They haven't really upheld their end of the bargain. I'm very disappointed in that," she said.

The BP Texas City refinery manager released the following statement.

"We deeply regret what occurred five years ago and have since made real progress in our systematic approach to process safety and in improving the culture of our organization to see that it never happens again," said Keith Casey.

According to the U.S. Chemical Safety board, the explosions happened when a tower flooded with hydrocarbons and was over-pressurize, causing a release from the vent stack. The hydrocarbons found an ignition source and exploded.

Rowe said she will continue to fight "so people don't forget what happened and all the good that came out of a terrible situation," she said.

BP officials said the company spent more than $1 billion to upgrade and modernize the Texas City refinery. They said they have an ongoing investment program to further improve the plant.

 

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