After suffering second- and third-degree burns in a fire at Exxon Mobil’s Baytown Olefins unit on Wednesday, Alvaro Coronel was about to be taken to the emergency room in an ambulance. But just before the vehicle drove off, Coronel said, Exxon Mobil representatives knocked on the vehicle and told him he would be taken to a clinic instead.
As a result, he fears he did not get proper medical treatment. Coronel sued Exxon Mobil on Friday, seeking damages of over $1 million.
Coronel is the second worker to file a lawsuit against the company following the fire that left 37 injured. Daniel Serrano, who works at the plant, sued Exxon for $1 million in damages on Thursday. Serrano is being treated for injuries to his neck, back and head, according to his lawsuit.
An Exxon Mobil spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the lawsuits.
“Filing this lawsuit will allow Daniel and his family to use the civil courts to discover what happened to cause this catastrophic explosion and to hold Exxon accountable,” Serrano’s attorney, Kyle Findley, said in a statement. “All refinery accidents are preventable, and it’s important for the workers and the community to find out what could have prevented this disaster.”
Serrano said his injuries have not been fully diagnosed. A manager at the Exxon Olefins unit, where the fire broke out, said Wednesday that the workers’ injuries were mostly minor burns.
Serrano’s lawsuit contends Exxon was negligent for failing to provide adequate equipment and training, among other deficiencies. Coronel’s suit accuses Exxon of negligence and “failure to provide a safe work site.”
Coronel, an employee of a contractor at the Olefins plant, was working as a crane operator at the time of the fire. At a news conference with his attrorneys Friday, Coronel said he suffered burns on his neck, head, back, arms and hands and expected better care.
“It was just a joke,” he said of the decision to send him to a clinic. “They just slapped a little cream on (my burns). … I’m in pain. I’m hurting. I expect a little more.’”
An Exxon Mobil spokesman said the company doesn’t “comment on third party statements” and said the company was prioritizing safety.
“All workers who received medical evaluation or first aid have been cleared to return to work,” the spokesman said. “Exxon Mobil remains focused on the safety of our people and those in the surrounding community.”
He said the company is continuing to cooperate with authorities investigating the incident, and that personal claims can be filed by calling 800-241-9010.
The new lawsuits come after Harris County filed its own lawsuit against the petrochemical giant, alleging it violated the state Clean Air Act. Harris County is already suing Exxon for another incident in March.
Sarah Smith contributed to this report.