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Preface 

 

      This Story  is about the British Petroleum Texas City Explosion that occurred on March 23, 2005 in Texas City, Texas. A Gasoline refinery was in the process of an especially dangerous procedure: re-starting a unit that had been down for repairs. Fifteen workers within fifty yards of the blast were returning from lunch after celebrating one hundred days of no accidents. They returned  to work unaware of the eminent disaster that lurked before them. Fifteen refinery workers would die instantly from an intense  explosion creating a shear shock wave with a tremendous  blunt  force that would shatter bones ,glass anything in the vicinity.

    Welding inspector Arthur Ramos was performing his duties away from the others and he noticed something incredibly drastic. Shortly before the blast he became disorientated and confused .  He noticed a terrible malfunction nearby. And immediately called his wife on his phone leaving a message stating (This is Art "Critical, Critical") the last words he would ever speak .I Enrique Gonzales heard this message with my family on Mrs., Ramos's cell phone, as the family sat closely together hearing are beloved fathers last words. It was a shocking, large vapor cloud the size of a football field Arturo had seen. the machinery was shaking and pipes were hammering .       

     Deep inside the blast proof control room engineers quietly proceeded to restart the refinery. With out warning fuel from a blow down stack erupted like a volcano and created a large vapor cloud. A truck parked nearby with the engine running malfunction because of the vapors in the air and backfired, igniting the cloud of dangerous gas. The hydrocarbon isomerisation Unit., used to produce high octane fuel was the source of the explosion. The existing safety equipment did not work and the control room operators were not aware of the boiling fuel about to explode and instantly kill fifteen construction workers employed by a company contracted by Jacobs Engineering.

     My story comes from a forklift driver who was working very near the explosion. His wife Sandra Ibarra was also there, she was working in the Jacobs work trailer fifty yards from the center of the blast. Joe‘s height sitting on the forklift tractor was his  blessing for life to continue. The shockwave traveled low to the ground at the speed of sound, so the force of the shockwave did not shatter his bones. Sandra survived the blast because she stood behind a metal filing cabinet in the work trailer. She would lay in critical condition for weeks at a Galveston hospital her body crumbled with a head fracture, broken neck, broken ribs, burned lungs and numerous other internal wounds totally crippled by the blast.

    Many heroes were born that unforgettable day.. Fearlessly with no concern for his own safety, or burning alive from the fires that raged before his eyes. Joe instinctively knocked fire balls out of the sky with his arms, and moved burning vehicles from the area, before they exploded. Joe Ibarra gave me that testimony in tears at the Galveston hospital, as my Mother in-law and Arturo's daughter Jane and I visited him to pray for his wife.  

    Five years later and after the state of Texas fined and demanded modifications and changes to the refinery, British Petroleum  continues to be negligent when it comes to safety within their refineries, and most of there other endeavors as well. For example, the accident in the Gulf Coast of Mexico off shore oil well, that leaked thousands of barrels of oil, killed eleven oil workers. British Petroleum should be reprimanded, because they were not willing to make changes ordered by the courts. I have access to 1000's of public documents from the United States Chemical Safety and Hazards Investigation Board, and will release all this information in my book BP Texas City Story written by Enrique Gonzales.

    BP is unwilling to make expensive modifications to its many industries, this multi-billion dollar company destroyed the Gulf of Mexico‘s. ecological, economic and environmental beauty. I'm obligated to tell the public that many problems existed. In the investigation that followed for example, some monitoring stations within the control room were not being used and not optimizing the control room’s capability to detect danger and alarm personal. What baffled survivors of the victims, and the public is that engineers did not evacuate all personal from the area before restarting the newly refurbished refinery? It is unjustifiable to believe that the construction workers were not informed that the plant was being refueled and quietly began the process. There is a big chance that charges may be filed against BP for its negligence. The workers were doomed the instant the refueling process began.

 Literary work copyright pending # 1-693297794

 

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