FARMINGTON — Silver Eagle Refining began presenting its case to jurors Monday in 2nd District Court. The Woods Cross refinery is being sued by Brian and Kristie Horne over the Nov. 4, 2009, refinery explosion.
Gil Higham, a consultant and former employee of the refinery, testified he has worked at the refinery in one capacity or another since 1973.
Higham said he was at the refinery on the day of the blast.
“I heard a loud boom. It shook the building. I grabbed my hard hat and headed out.”
He said the flames from the explosion were contained to the refinery and did not spread into the neighborhood.
The pipe at the point of origin of the blast was about 1/10th of an inch thick, which is thinner than the industry standard, he said.
The refinery had been inspected by an outside entity, Higham said.
Refineries hire outside entities to do inspections “for more transparency, and they have better expertise,” he said.
But no one can measure the thickness of the inside of pipes, so no one knew there was a problem with the pipe that caused the blast.
The Hornes say they filed the lawsuit because the explosion has made it difficult to sell their home, which sits next to the refinery.
Even though the home has been repaired, the Hornes have not moved back into it because they say they feel it is unsafe for them and their four children.
They are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
The jury trial is scheduled to end Wednesday.