Waxahachie’s Magnablend Settles Lawsuit with Injured Employee

by jim on March 11, 2014

Magnabelend fireOnce you read the damning testimony of Magnablend's own employees in the Waxahachie Daily Light coverage of the trial, you only wondered how long it would take for the company to settle with James Barron, who claimed the October 3rd explosion and fire at the chemical blending facility had resulted in permanent neurological damage.

The answer was: one week.

There was one important footnote to pause and ponder. If one reads between the lines of testimony, the implication is the company's new expansion into supplying the fracking industry's chemical needs was behind the 2011 accident, which sent smoke wafting all the way into downtown Dallas.

In cross-examination of company supervisors, it came out that despite Magnablend beginning to manufacture "new blends of chemicals" it was unfamiliar with, the company's on-site chemist wasn't reading the product information that came with the new chemicals. Ventilation in the facility might have been adequate for the kind of chemicals it had historically blended, but it was unable to cope with the build-up of hydrogen that formed when the new batch of chemicals were blended. It's that hydrogen cloud that caused the explosion and fire.

So is Magnablend still blending chemicals for the fracking industry? Is there still a potential for the same kind of accident to occur? if they aren't doing this kind of blending anymore, who is? What facilities are dealing with the same chemicals Magnablend was mixing, and where are they located? Nobody had ever heard of Magnablend before it blew up. Is there another heretofore unknown manufacturer who's taking the same risks without their neighbors knowing it? You can count on it. 

Terms of the settlement with Barron were not made public. Magnablend still faces 21 other civil cases arising from the 2011 accident.

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