Worker says ExxonMobil clinic dismissed injury as 'sun burns'

Friday, August 2, 2019
Worker says ExxonMobil clinic dismissed injury as 'sun burns'
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EXPLOSION LAWSUIT: Alvaro Coronel, who is suing the plant, said he was 30 yards from the initial explosion on Wednesday.

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- A man working at the Baytown ExxonMobil plant during Wednesday's explosion is suing the company, claiming that the plant's clinic wrote off his injuries as similar to "sun burns."

Alvaro Coronel and his attorneys met with media on Friday, two days after he said he was standing 30 yards from the explosion at the ExxonMobil Olefins Plant.

"I heard the first bang, you know, the first blast," he recalled. "I thought it was something else."

Coronel, who had his arm wrapped in dressing and burns visible on the back of his neck and head, retained the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz.

According to Coronel, he ran to an evacuation path towards a fence right after the first blast. He heard a second explosion, causing him to fall.

"So, we're running and that second explosion, I mean, it was loud," said Coronel. "I thought I was burning alive pretty much. That third blast, it rocked the ground."

He said he was loaded onto a Baytown Fire Department ambulance when ExxonMobil officials on the scene stopped him from leaving and directed him to the clinic, where he was simply bandaged.

Coronel had been working at the plant for eight months. He said that the plant appeared to operate properly and that Wednesday's incident was just an accident, but he wishes he got better treatment.

After the news conference, Coronel showed ABC13 his burn injury.

The law firm added that a woman also working at the plant is expected to file suit. Attorney Muhammad Aziz said this worker climbed a unit on site and fell when the explosion went off.

The lawsuit is the latest legal obstacle for ExxonMobil in the explosion's aftermath.

Harris County sued ExxonMobil just the day after the explosion. It alleged the company violated the Texas Clean Air Act due to the release of pollutants.

The company said 66 people sought out treatment for non-life threatening injuries.

Initial report from the burning plant in Baytown

The fire broke out in the olefins unit before the lunch hour on Wednesday

This is the second time within a few months that a fire has broken out at an ExxonMobil plant. That previous incident occurred in March.

READ MORE: Officials investigating cause of fire at ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown

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