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Husky Energy Refinery Explosion in Superior, Wisconsin Class Action

When the Husky Superior Refinery exploded, on April 26, 2018, Plaintiffs Jasen Bruzek, Hope Koplin, and Neil Miller, were forced to evacuate their homes, along with other residents of Superior, Wisconsin. The complaint for this class action alleges that Husky Energy, Inc. and Superior Refining Company, LLC are responsible for the explosion and the losses that evacuees suffered.

The class for this action is all persons and entities who, on April 28, were residents of, present in, employed in, or had a place of business in the Evacuation Zone and who sustained unreimbursed economic loss or loss of use of their property, excluding personal injury damages.

The two companies are the owners and operators of the refinery. The refinery can process about 50,000 barrels per day, and it provides gasoline, asphalt, and petroleum products.

One of the hazardous substances the refinery handles is hydrogen fluoride. It can cause severe burns or kill, and if released, it can form a toxic gas cloud. The complaint claims that the mayors of Superior and Duluth have been trying to get the refinery to replace the hydrogen fluoride with sulfuric acid, which poses less danger to the surrounding community because it does not become airborne if it is released. As it is, a cloud of hydrogen fluoride, if released, could travel up to 25 miles and expose 180,000 people to injury or death.

On April 26, at around 10:00 AM, the initial blast occurred. Debris from the blast flew 200 feet and punctured a tank of asphalt. About 15,000 barrels of hot asphalt spilled into the refinery. About two hours later, the asphalt caught fire, and the heat set off more explosions at around 12:40 PM. The smoke from the fire spread about thirty miles beyond the refinery.

The fire came within 150 feet of a tank of hydrogen fluoride. This danger caused the emergency management authority for the county to require the mandatory evacuation of everyone in a three-mile radius of the refinery and everyone within ten miles to the south of the fire.

Residents were not allowed to return to their homes until the following day.

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced on August 2, 2018 that the suspected cause of the explosion was equipment failure. Specifically, a worn-out valve permitted a flow through the valve even when the valve was in the closed position. It thus failed to separate oxygen and hydrocarbons, so that a flammable mixture formed.

The CSB examined data from a differential pressure instrument, which showed that the dangerous condition existed for roughly 25 minutes that morning. That permitted the forming of the flammable mixture, which the CSB says traveled downstream until it met an ignition source.

The complaint claims that the refinery has been cited or fined for numerous federal safety violations. Some of these have involved combustible liquids, hazardous waste, and emergency response. Husky Energy also suffered an explosion at a refinery in Lima, Ohio in 2015.

The complaint claims, among other things, negligence, nuisance, and strict liability for extrahazardous or ultrahazardous activity.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Hazard

Most Recent Case Event

Husky Energy Refinery Explosion in Superior, Wisconsin Complaint

August 20, 2018

When the Husky Superior Refinery exploded, on April 26, 2018, Plaintiffs Jasen Bruzek, Hope Koplin, and Neil Miller, were forced to evacuate their homes, along with other residents of Superior, Wisconsin. The complaint for this class action alleges that Husky Energy, Inc. and Superior Refining Company, LLC are responsible for the explosion and the losses that evacuees suffered.

husky_refinery_expolsion_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Husky Energy Refinery Explosion in Superior, Wisconsin Complaint

August 20, 2018

When the Husky Superior Refinery exploded, on April 26, 2018, Plaintiffs Jasen Bruzek, Hope Koplin, and Neil Miller, were forced to evacuate their homes, along with other residents of Superior, Wisconsin. The complaint for this class action alleges that Husky Energy, Inc. and Superior Refining Company, LLC are responsible for the explosion and the losses that evacuees suffered.

husky_refinery_expolsion_complaint.pdf
Tags: Energy, Explosion, Fire, Nuisance