PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — Authorities have identified the man who died at a Southeast Texas refinery after the bulldozer he was operating fell into a pit filled with 200-degree byproduct wastewater.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that 66-year-old Thomas Courts of the North Texas town of Denton died Saturday at the Total facility in Port Arthur. Officials said Courts was a contract worker with Kinder Morgan.
Marc DeRouen, Jefferson County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, said a co-worker used his machine to pull out the bulldozer, but Courts was already dead. DeRouen has ordered an autopsy to determine cause of death.
Carroll says the victim likely was pushing petroleum coke, a byproduct of crude refining which is like fine graphite, into the pit. The bulldozer somehow overtopped the levee.