Woman sues petroleum company for injuries in explosion
Lawsuit • Woman was in gas station restroom when flash fire occurred.
Published: December 1, 2011 07:05AM
Updated: November 30, 2011 04:53PM

A woman is suing a petroleum company for burns she suffered several years ago while at a Salt Lake City service station.

Stephanie Lucero filed a personal injury lawsuit Friday in 3rd District Court against Petroleum Wholesale L.P., a Texas corporation, and its partners, including Sunmart Inc., and employee Gregory John Richman.

On the night of Oct. 17, 2008, Lucero went to Ron’s Chevron, a convenience store on 504 S. West Temple, to meet a friend who worked there. The lawsuit states that while waiting for her friend’s shift to end, Lucero, who was 24-weeks pregnant decided to use the restroom. The facilities were about 45 feet south of the store in a separate building.

Before she entered the bathroom, the lawsuit states, Richman was in the process of transferring fuel from a tanker truck to underground storage tanks next to the restroom.

The truck drove away from the gas station once Lucero entered the restroom, the lawsuit says.

As Lucero began to sit and reach for the metal handrail affixed to the wall on her right side, she felt a jolt to her hand, followed by a petroleum fuel explosion and flash fire, the lawsuit alleges.

She suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns on her arms, legs and other exposed skin. Because of her pregnancy she could not take pain medication. The baby was born healthy.

Lucero spent the next two weeks in a hospital burn unit and a rehabilitation center. Because she did not qualify for reduction of work hours, she was fired from her job as a truck driver, the lawsuit states. Her insurance benefits ended with the job, as well.

According to the lawsuit, Lucero continues to experience nightmares about explosions and fires and has bouts of anxiety and depression.

The lawsuit was first filed in federal court, but Lucero’s attorney has now filed it in state court because of jurisdictional issues.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and that the defendants failed to comply with industry standards. Lucero seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages.

rorellana@sltrib.com