Sole Survivor Of Anacortes Refinery Explosion Dies Overnight
Matt Gumble was the only one of seven who survived the April 2 refinery explosion in Anacortes. He died at the hospital overnight.
Q13 FOX News & Associated Press Web Reporter
April 24, 2010
ANACORTES – The only survivor of the Tesoro Refinery explosion in Anacortes died from his injuries early Saturday morning. Matt Gumble, 31, died around 2:45am after spending more than three weeks at Harborview Medical Center. He was one of seven refinery workers who died as a result of the massive explosion on April 2.
Matthew Bowen from Arlington, Daniel Aldridge from Anacortes, and Darrin Hoines from Ferndale all died at the scene of the explosion while four others, including Matt Gumble, were rushed to Harborview Medical Center. Donna Van Dreumel from Oak Harbor, Kathryn Powell from Burlington and Lew Janz from Anacortes all later died of their injuries at the hospital. Matt Gumble was the sole survivor of the explosion.
The final posting on Gumble’s page on the Caring Bridge website includes a post from his family Friday afternoon: “After Matt was brought up to his room they could not get his vital signs stable. He is now back downstairs in emergency exploratory surgery to try and find out what is going on. Please say lots of prayers because he needs them.”
The news of Gumble’s death comes as the Anacortes community is preparing for a memorial service. That service takes place on Sunday, April 25, at Anacortes High School from 2 to 4p.m.
The April 2 blast happened at 12:40 a.m. and was felt for miles away.This refinery experienced another accident in 2006, when three workers were treated for exposure to chemicals after a glowing fire that frightened neighbors. Refinery managers called it a “ground flare” that burns excess gases after the site shuts down.
Following the blast, investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safey Board reported that the workers who died in the oil refinery blast were engulfed in a “firewall.”
There is “indication of a very sudden release of hydrocarbon that ignited very quickly,” said Robert Hall, investigations supervisor for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. “The individuals didn’t stand a chance; it ignited within a second.”
State and federal investigators have descended on the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, about 70 miles north of Seattle, to seek answers in Friday’s blast. The investigation is expected to take months to complete.
It was the deadliest event at a U.S. refinery since 15 people died at a BP facility in Texas in 2005.
In Anacortes, investigators have done an initial tour of the damaged area. The agency will also acquire computer data of the plant’s operations from Tesoro, as well as deconstruct parts of the plant to conduct tests. The agency will also look at work fatigue and other details.
Last week, the company said employees were doing maintenance work on a unit that processes highly flammable liquid derived during the refining process.
The state fined the San Antonio-based company $85,700 last April for 17 serious safety and health violations, defined as those with potential to cause death or serious physical injury. The fine was lowered in a settlement with the company, which required Tesoro to correct hazards and hire a third-party consultant to do a safety audit.
The Anacortes Refinery is located at 10200 W March Point Rd. Tesoro makes gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, heavy fuel oils, liquefied petroleum gas and asphalt at the refinery. It has a crude-oil capacity of 120,000 barrels per day.