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Workers file suit over Memphis refinery explosion

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 16, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.

— An explosion that killed a worker at a Valero oil refinery in Memphis is the subject of a multimillion-dollar wrongful death and injury lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by Richard Cuevas and Luis Santos, who were involved in the March 6 explosion. Cuevas also sued on behalf of his two brothers, one who died and another who remains hospitalized with burns over 70 percent of his body.

The Commercial Appeal reports the lawsuit claims severe and gross negligence. The suit alleges that there was a failure to ensure that there were no hazardous or flammable gases in a flare line and there was a failure to provide timely firefighting assistance.

The lawsuit also claims that the March 6 fire was the third one at the refinery in less than two years. It claims there was no automatic firefighting equipment in place.

A Valero spokesman declined to comment.

Daniel Reyes Cuevas is still in a Memphis hospital with burn wounds. His brother Nicolas Cuevas died.

Guadalupe Torres also remains hospitalized. He is not a part of the lawsuit.

All five men worked for subcontractor JV Industrial of Pasadena, Texas. The suit was filed in San Antonio.

Memphis Fire Department officials said last week that the cause of the fire has not been determined. The fire was extinguished before firefighters arrived on the scene.

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