Two workers who were injured in the April 2018 explosion and fire at Husky Refinery filed a civil suit against the company, Superior Refining Company LLC, in Douglas County Circuit Court Dec. 17.
The men are seeking in excess of $10,000 for medical costs, pain and suffering, future wage loss and compensatory damages.
According to the complaint, the men were working on scaffolding as part of the turnaround crew when the explosion took place. They were thrown to the ground, showered with debris and shrapnel, and forced to run for their lives to escape the fire.
They allege refinery management was negligent for ordering crews back to work after a strange knocking noise was heard. Workers initially rushed out of the refinery when they heard the sound, but were instructed to return and continue the turnaround maintenance. The explosion occurred approximately 45 minutes after work resumed, the complaint said.
The refinery has 45 days to respond to the new Douglas County filing.
A similar suit was filed in Douglas County in 2018 by seven contract workers from Louisiana and Texas. Their case against the refinery moved forward in August after the company’s motions to dismiss the case were denied.
Litigation is still pending in a separate class action lawsuit filed against Husky by Superior residents in U.S. District Court.
The explosion and series of fires at the Husky refinery caused three dozen people to seek medical attention on April 26, 2018, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The incident caused a temporary evacuation of some city residents due to the presence of hydrogen fluoride, a highly toxic chemical that can be hazardous to human health if released. Debris from the explosion came within 150 feet of the refinery's hydrogen fluoride tank.
Work is underway on a $750 million rebuild of the refinery. Construction was halted in March due to the pandemic but resumed in June with extra precautions in place.
Mechanical completion of the refinery is expected in spring of 2022, according to refinery plant manager Kollin Schade, and it should be fully up and operational sometime around the third quarter of 2022.