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Incident Description

CITGO Refinery Hydrofluoric Acid Release and Fire

Incident Description:On July 19, 2009, a hydrocarbon gas release occurred in the CITGO Corpus Christi East Refinery hydrogen fluoride (HF) alkylation unit at 1802 Nueces Bay Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas. The release ignited causing extensive damage; the ensuing fire burned for several days. The fire critically injured one CITGO employee. One other employee was treated for possible HF exposure during emergency response activities. The incident occurred when violent shaking in the process recycle piping broke two threaded connections, releasing highly flammable hydrocarbons. The shaking was caused by nearly complete flow blockage, which occurred due to the sudden failure of a control valve. During this incident, CITGO nearly exhausted its stored water supply for fire suppression and HF mitigation on the first day of the multi-day incident response. About 11.5 hours after the initial release, before the water supply was completely exhausted, the Refinery Terminal Fire Company began pumping salt water from the Corpus Christi ship channel into the CITGO fire water system using a barge equipped for firefighting. Multiple failures occurred during the salt water transfer, including multiple ruptures of the barge-to-shore transfer hoses and two water pump engine failures.

Bayer CropScience Pesticide Waste Tank Explosion

Incident Description:On August 28, 2008, a runaway chemical reaction occurred inside a 4,500 gallon pressure vessel known as a residue treater, causing the vessel to explode violently in the methomyl unit at the Bayer CropScience facility in Institute, West Virginia. Highly flammable solvent sprayed from the vessel and immediately ignited, causing an intense fire that burned for more than 4 hours. The fire was contained inside the Methomyl-Larvin insecticide unit by the Bayer CropScience fire brigade with mutual aid assistance from local volunteer and municipal fire departments. The incident occurred during the restart of the methomyl unit after an extended outage to upgrade the control system and replace the original residue treater vessel. Two company employees who had been dispatched by the control room personnel to investigate why the residue treater pressure was increasing were near the residue treater when it ruptured. One died from blunt force trauma and burn injuries sustained at the scene; the second died 41 days later at the Western Pennsylvania Burn Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Six volunteer firefighters who assisted in the unit fire suppression activities and two contractors working at the facility were treated for possible toxic chemical exposure.


DPC Enterprises Festus Chlorine Release

Incident Description:On August 14, 2002, a chlorine transfer hose ruptured during a rail car unloading operation at the DPC Enterprises chlorine repackaging facility near Festus, Missouri. The hose rupture ultimately led to the release of 48,000 pounds of chlorine, causing three workers and 63 residents to seek medical treatment. The CSB found that DPC lacked an effective testing and inspection program for its chlorine emergency shutdown system. Emergency shutdown valves failed to close properly once the chlorine leak had begun, greatly extending the duration and severity of the release. Investigators concluded that the valves were inoperable due to internal system corrosion, in turn caused by inadvertent introduction of moisture into the chlorine system. DPC's testing and inspection program was inadequate to uncover the faulty condition of the valves before the accident occurred. The emergency response plan was inadequate in several areas including community notification, access to equipment, etc.


Last updated September 06, 2017



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