Explosion at Asphalt Plant in Greensboro, North Carolina

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Industrial Accident

There was an explosion at Associated Asphalt’s plant in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 18, 2024.  The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.  The facility is believed to blend and haul liquid asphalt.  It is unclear if anyone was injured.

An explosion at an asphalt plant could occur due to a variety of factors, each linked to the complex chemical nature of asphalt and the processes involved in its production. Asphalt, a petroleum product used primarily for road construction and waterproofing, is produced by mixing aggregate with bitumen at high temperatures. This process inherently involves significant fire and explosion risks, particularly from the handling and heating of bitumen, which releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and flammable gases.

One potential cause of an explosion could be the mishandling or malfunction of the heating systems used to liquefy bitumen. Bitumen tanks and kettles must be carefully monitored and controlled to prevent overheating, which can lead to the buildup of pressure within containment units. Should these pressures reach a critical point without being properly vented or if the heating system fails to shut down, the result could be a catastrophic explosion. Moreover, the presence of hot bitumen increases the risk of ignition from sparks or static electricity, turning even minor leaks or spills into potential triggers for larger blasts.

Additionally, the accumulation of combustible dust in the air and on surfaces within the plant poses a significant explosion hazard. During the production process, fine particles of aggregate can become airborne and, if not adequately controlled, form a combustible dust cloud. This dust, when mixed with the air in the right proportions and exposed to an ignition source, can lead to powerful dust explosions capable of causing extensive damage and injuries. Regular housekeeping, dust collection systems, and proper ventilation are essential preventive measures to manage this risk and ensure a safer working environment at asphalt production facilities.

There have been a number of incidents at industrial and manufacturing plants.  There was a fire at the Phillips 66 refinery in Billings, Montana on February 9, 2024.  A worker was killed while operating a lift in Spartanburg, South Carolina on February 14, 2024.  There was an oil tank fire at the F.O. Day Bituminous Company asphalt plant in Montgomery County, Maryland on March 14, 2024.  There was an explosion at the Glycerin Traders plant in Defiance, Ohio on March 20, 2024.

Those touched by an industrial accident should know their legal rights and remedies, and act quickly to preserve them. Our attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving industrial and plant personal injury and wrongful death, including those caused by equipment malfunctioning.  The firm has experience in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or as a result of an explosion, or been seriously injured.

The experienced attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a plant or refinery.  Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.