The investigation into what caused Monday night’s fire and the subsequent explosions at a Blue Rhino propane facility in Tavares, FL are just beginning. While it will likely be weeks, and possibly months before we know what caused the conflagration we can already make some supposition that there will be legal implications as a result of the incident.
Here is some of the fallout we’re expecting to see in the near future, assuming that efforts haven’t already begun:
- Neighbors will try to block Blue Rhino from reopening. This is, apparently, already in the works, as people who live close to the facility are beginning to call for its permanent shutdown in order to ensure their safety. While these calls may seem logical in the wake of the accident, they may also be groundless. This plant has been in operation since 2004 without major incident. We’re interested to see if the plant will reopen, or if its neighbors are successful in closing it down.
- Investigations into past issues will come out. Every industrial facility falls under the oversight of local and national safety authorities, like OSHA. These organizations regularly review the operation of facilities, and make recommendations for better safety. Most facilities receive notice that something needs to be changed, updated, corrected, or altered in order to ensure safer operations. Any report filed on this facility will be put under greater scrutiny by the media and those same authorities. Be assured that any small infraction that occurred in the past will now be held as a huge sign of past mismanagement and unsafe operations.
- Ferrell Gas will be sued for negligence. Ferrell Gas is the parent company of Blue Rhino, who operate this and similar facilities across the nation. Even though the cause of Monday night’s accident remains a mystery, we’re of the opinion that Ferrell will have at least one, and more likely several, lawsuits on their hands shortly. Whether it’s a call for home repairs from damage caused by falling debris, or one of the employees calling for help with the injuries they sustained, someone is going to open a case.
- Something unexpected will happen. We don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that there will be some information, security camera footage, or document that will come up and change the way the investigation moves forward. Already there are complications, as one of the workers fleeing the fire was struck by a vehicle as he crossed the street. Questions about who is at fault, what happened when, and how the incident occurred may never be answered to the fullest extent.
Admittedly these assumptions are just that. Assumptions about what is to come as the investigation into the explosions and their cause move forward. Until we see the reports of those performing the investigations, we won’t know what caused the fires. In fact, even with those reports in hand, we still may not know if it was a mechanical malfunction, human error, or something completely different that lead to fireballs lighting up the Lake County skies.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys