Marathon Petroleum Galveston Bay Refinery Fire in Texas City: A Closer Look

May 16, 2023 | Fires And Explosions, Industrial Accidents, Wrongful Death

Texas City, Texas – In the quiet morning of May 15th, 2023, a devastating fire broke out at the Marathon Petroleum Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas. Tragically, this incident claimed the life of Scott Higgins, a 55-year-old resident of Deer Park, Texas.

Additionally, we wish a speedy recovery for the individuals who sustained serious injuries in this preventable incident. As the investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, our thoughts and prayers go out to the affected employees and their families as they navigate this difficult and trying time. The impact of such a tragedy on their lives and livelihoods is immeasurable, and we extend our sympathies and support to each and every one of them.

What to Know About Marathon Petroleum Galveston Bay Refinery

  • Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery is located in Texas City, Texas, off the Houston Ship Channel. 
  • Approximately 1,550 people work at the Galveston Bay Refinery, which has a crude oil refining capacity of 593,000 barrels per calendar day.
  • The refinery can process a wide variety of crude oils into gasoline, distillates, aromatics, heavy fuel oil, dry gas, fuel-grade coke, refinery-grade propylene, chemical-grade propylene, and sulfur. 

Timeline of Events

  • A fire broke out at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery at approximately 9:30 a.m.
  • Emergency response crews responded to a reported fire at 2938 5th Ave S around 10 a.m.
  • Around 12 p.m. Texas City officials said the fire was under control and contained in the facility. 
  • The company released the following statement at 2:30 p.m.: 

We are deeply saddened to report that a Marathon employee has passed away as a result of the fire today at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery,” a company statement read. “We extend our deepest sympathies to our employee’s family, friends, and co-workers, and our thoughts are with them as we all mourn his passing. The safety of our workers and the community is our top priority, and a full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident.

  • No shelter-in-place was ordered, despite the frustrations of nearby residents who felt they did not receive adequate communication. The Texas City Emergency Management Department has a free text alert system to notify residents of emergency situations. However, no alert was issued for this incident.

Response To The Texas City Refinery Fire

Second Death in Less than 3 Months at Marathon Petroleum

The death is the second in less than three months at Marathon’s Galveston Bay refinery, where a contract worker died after being electrocuted Feb. 28. The death was reportedly being investigated at the time by the company as well as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

Refinery Fires and Explosions are Common in the Houston Area

The fire is the most recent petrochemical-related accident in the Houston area. At least a dozen similar explosions have occurred within the last five years:

  • Shell Deer Park Chemical Plant Fire – May 2023
  • INEOS Chemical Plant Explosion – March 2023
  • ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery Explosion – December 2021
  • TPC Houston Chemical Plant Explosion – November 2019
  • Celanese Corporation Pasadena Plant Explosion – September 2019
  • ExxonMobil Baytown Plant Explosion – July 2019
  • Kuraray America Eval Texas Chemical Plant Explosion – May 2019
  • KMCO Crosby Chemical Plant Explosion – April 2019
  • ITC Deer Park Plant Explosion – March 2019
  • ExxonMobil Baytown Complex Plan Explosion – March 2019
  • Cresson Chemical Plant Explosion – March 2018
  • Arkema Chemical Plant Explosion – August 2017

Our Petrochemical Fire and Explosion Lawyers Can Help

If you or your business have suffered from the recent fire at the Marathon Petroleum Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, Texas, you are entitled to receive rightful compensation for your damages. Our team of skilled lawyers specializing in Houston’s petrochemical fires and explosions possesses a wealth of expertise in handling industrial accident cases. We are here to assist you in comprehending your legal alternatives. By entrusting us with your case, you can concentrate on recovering from the incident while we tirelessly strive to secure the compensation you deserve. Take the first step today by contacting us for a complimentary initial consultation to discover how our services can benefit you.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.

The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.


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