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 chapter 5

 

Bp Texas City Story  

 

 Eva Rowe

 

            Eva Rowe was raised by wonderful  and brilliant  parents in Hornbeck Louisiana.  She was no different than any other teenager that you might meet  anywhere,  a high school football game McDonalds or at the library. One of  her greatest joys was sharing and spending time with her dad fishing at Toledo Bend lake in Louisiana. It was not far from her home. In fact, you might say she was a natural born fisherman. Eva grew up in many places around the Country, as her father was a Skilled construction foreman, and often was needed in different areas of the country. Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas.

            As a teenager, Eva's happiest times were the days at Toledo Bend Lake with her mom, dad and brother Jeremy. Her parents were her role models, and Jeremy was her best friend. Together they would fish, laugh and share those precious moments only someone from a very close family would understand. When not fishing Eva also enjoyed shopping trips to the mall window shopping and maybe watching a Forrest Gump movie

            Every summer, when not enjoying the beautiful Louisiana marshes , the family would vacation and enjoy being a close active family. Some of her most exciting vacations were in Northern California to see the huge Sequoias. The Bahamians and Washington, D.C. to experience the history of our nation. Eva was most taken by their visit to Arlington Cemetery. She was inspired by the beauty and enormity of the tribute America had given our brave sons and daughters who had sacrificed their lives for our country. During these trips, the family’s road trips were always fun for adventures for Eva they would sing along to different songs like her favorite, Lynyrd Skynyrd

             As a teenager She loved school and enjoyed eating many foods, just as a normal teenager would. McDonald, pizza, crawfishes. In high school she earned a 3.96 average. Her brother remained her friend through out  High school. Eva was determined to graduate with him. Her mother, a very gifted woman, taught at her school working with students in the head start program. 

    Eva Rowe drove down interstate 45 on a beautiful good Friday , March 23, 2005., She could smell the scent of the fresh  humid and  Moist sea water in the air, the long and sweaty drive  was coming to an end as she neared Texas City . She was so excited to be with her family she had not seen her parents for a short while and was on her way to visit them for the Easter holidays

 Forty minutes from Texas City Eva decided to stop for a break and refreshments it was then that she over heard a gentleman speaking of a explosion and the British petroleum gasoline refinery, witch was where her mother father worked. That information was shocking. And every nerve in her body tightened, as she mentally pondered the idea in her mind. Knowing that her father and mother  worked at BP, contracting on the ongoing shutdown. Her legs became light and her jaw tightened and she had to immediately drive to the area to find out the truth. She Became weak and her mind began to slowly cry out with fear. She immediately grabbed her Phone hardly able to dial her nerves were becoming more and more fearful, as she waited for an answer  (End of sneak peak )

 

BP plant explosion suit settled for $32 million POSTED: 5:24 a.m. EST, November 10, 2006

By Katy Byron
CNN

            GALVESTON, Texas (CNN) -- The daughter of two plant workers who died in the BP Texas City refinery explosion of 2005 will settle her lawsuit against the oil giant for an undisclosed amount and $32 million in donations to health care, training, and safety education, the plaintiff and her lawyer announced Thursday.

            Eva Rowe's parents, Linda and James Rowe, were among the 15 people who died in the March 23, 2005, oil plant explosion and fire. Until Thursday's announcement, Rowe's suit was the only fatality case from the tragedy that was going to court. Proceedings in the case began earlier this week in a Galveston courtroom and opening statements were to begin Monday. Eva Rowe's lawsuit originally sought damages of $1.2 billion. Neither party would disclose the monetary terms of the settlement beyond the $32 million donated by BP to various causes chosen by Rowe.

            BP spokeswoman Sarah Howell called the deaths of the Rowes a "tragic loss" and added that the company is "very happy that we settled." BP has accepted full responsibility for the disaster at its plant and has settled more than 1,000 lawsuits related to claims made by those directly injured on the site, by family members of those who died and by people who suffered shock. More than $1.6 billion was set aside by BP to resolve with those claims, a BP spokesman told CNN. " Rowe said she decided to settle because BP met her demands in that they would release documents relevant to the Texas City disaster and organizations and schools in Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee that focus on work training, health-care aid and safety education will receive the bulk of the settlement." As part of the settlement, $1 million will be donated to the cancer center at the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee in memory of Rowe's parents, said Brent Coon the lawyer representing Rowe.

            Texas A&M University and the University of Texas will receive $12.5 million each in the names of the 15 workers who died during the oil plant fire, while the College of the Mainland's safety and training program will receive $5 million in the names of the deceased, Coon told reporters during a news conference. The high school in Hornbeck, Louisiana, where Linda Rowe was a teacher's aid will receive a $1 million donation from BP in the form of a scholarship fund in her honor, Rowe said,  her parents had "the perfect story -- 27 years of marriage, two kids, grandkids. They died together, and their death is going to change a lot of things and help a lot of people."

            In addition, for each outside donation up to $2 million made to these programs, BP will match the donation until the total settlement for the suit reaches $38 million. Rowe and Coon's firm were the first to donate, giving $200,000, which BP has matched, Coon said. When reporters asked Rowe if she could ever forgive BP for what happened to her parents, she replied: "I'll probably never say BP is a good company. They killed my parents to save money."

            Last month the Chemical Safety Board released preliminary findings of its investigation of the Texas City blast, saying that internal BP documents reveal the oil corporation's knowledge of "significant safety problems at the Texas City refinery" months or years before the explosion. The report says that the company was warned of potentially hazardous conditions at the plant, and while it improved working conditions, "unsafe and antiquated equipment designs were left in place, and unacceptable deficiencies in preventative maintenance were tolerated," safety board Chairman Carolyn Merritt said.  Responding to the report, a BP spokesman said, "We agree with the CSB in that we, too, believe that the March 23, 2005, explosion was a preventable tragedy. However, we do not understand the basis of some of the comments made by the CSB board members." The report reveals that between 1994 and 2005 there were eight incidents at the Texas City refinery that signaled grave problems. Two of those incidents involved fires, the report says. Don Holmstrom, the safety board's investigator leading the inquiry, said BP's efforts to improve safety at the plant in 2004 "focused largely on improving personnel safety -- such as slips, trips and falls -- rather than management systems, equipment design, and preventative maintenance programs to help prevent the growing risk of major process accidents."

            Federal investigators have already fined the company $21 million for more than 300 safety violations at the plant. Coon told reporters that his firm will be representing another 75 to 100 claims against BP in February for personal injury-related cases of both injured workers at the Texas City plant on the day of the explosion and residents who lived nearby who were impacted by the accident that "blew out windows a quarter of a mile away." The Texas City refinery explosion was the worst industrial accident in the United States in more than a decade.

CNN's Christopher Browne contributed to this report

 

 

 

 

 

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