Anacortes Explosion
6:05 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Suit filed over deaths at Tesoro Refinery

The families of six Tesoro Corporation refinery workers killed in an explosion at an Anacortes site last April have filed a wrongful-death suit against the company Wednesday. 

The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner reports the suit alleges Tesoro was negligent in addressing the conditions that resulted in the blast, which killed seven people. In addition to the six families, a contractor injured in the explosion has also joined the suit.

Brunner reports attorney David Beninger is representing the families, and filed the suit in Skagit County Superior Court today:

"It's really about getting full accountability, by finding out exactly what happened, how it happened and how we can keep it from happening again," Beninger said.

According to The Times, the suit claims old equipment wasn't inspected, federal refinery safety laws ignored, and industry standard not followed.

As KPLU's Tom Banse reported last October, Washington State Labor & Industries levied a record fine - $2.4 million - against Tesoro, noting the explosion and deaths could have been prevented.

Named in the suit, according to The Times:

...are Tesoro, its Anacortes refinery, and three refinery managers: Don Sorrenson, Bill Reitzel and Dennis Cross.Also named are two contractors that did welding and inspection work at the refinery, as well as Shell Oil, the previous owner of the refinery.Tesoro owns seven U.S. refineries, one of the nation's largest refinery companies.  

The company did not make any comment to The Seattle Times about the suit, citing corporate policy.