Former Employees Allege Blue Rhino Explosion was a Result of Negligence

October 23, 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been more than two years since the Blue Rhino explosion at the plant in Tavares, but for the individuals injured in that blast, as well as their families, it will always be in the back of their minds.

The explosion was heard and felt for miles, and it caused a huge fire estimated to have been over 200 feet high. Five former employees who sustained numerous severe injuries are now suing Blue Rhino separately. Each of the lawsuits claims the same thing; negligence and unsafe working conditions.

An attorney for one of the plaintiffs, said of his client, “[H]e’s a survivor and is really doing all he can. He’s had to sustain some horrific injuries that have changed his life forever… This is the classic story of a company putting profits before safety. They saw men and women as replaceable and didn’t care about their safety.”

The lawsuits all contend that Blue Rhino trained the five employees to bleed the propane tanks and purposely neglected to tell them just how dangerous such actions could be. The plaintiffs argue that they would likely have elected not to do it if they had been properly warned of the risk.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office said in a statement that the explosion was caused by a spark from a forklift that ignited a cloud of propane from bleeding the tanks.

The lawsuits name a long list of defendants, including Blue Rhino’s parent company, Ferrellgas; managers at the Tavares plant; and Rogers Mobile Repair, the company responsible for inspecting the fork lifts.

OSHA discovered no less than 26 safety issues during their investigation following the explosion, 20 of which qualified as “serious” violations.

A spokesperson for Ferrellgas stated only that no public comments would be made regarding the pending legal battle.

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