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Williams Cos. Sued by Workers Injured in Louisiana Plant

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June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Williams Cos., a U.S. operator of gas and oil pipelines, was sued by three pipefitters injured in the June 13 explosion at a subsidiary’s chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana.

The three men were fixing leaky pipes that had failed federal safety inspections, according to Brent Coon, the workers’ attorney. The plaintiffs accuse Williams of negligence for not properly maintaining its equipment and pipelines. The blast in the plant’s propylene fractionation unit killed two and injured 77, the company said.

Williams “failed to train and provide plaintiffs with safety, emergency and/or escape procedures,” Coon said in a complaint filed June 21 after regular business hours in state court in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. The three workers were among dozens trapped inside the plant after the explosion until a co-worker smashed through a locked gate in a company truck to allow them to escape, according to the filing.

The workers seek unspecified damages for their injuries, including back injuries alleged by one worker who was blown off scaffolding.

Sara Delgado, a spokeswoman for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Rios v. Williams Entergy Partners, 107,298C, 23rd Judicial District Court, Ascension Parish, Louisiana.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha in San Francisco at mhytha@bloomberg.net.