Family sues oil company over fatal Louisiana tank explosion

Louisiana News

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Relatives of a 14-year-old girl who died when an oil storage tank exploded in February have sued the company that operated the tank.

The suit against Urban Oil & Gas Group and its insurer was filed Wednesday in federal court in Lake Charles by the mother, father, adult sister, and twin brother of Zalee Day-Smith.

Day-Smith is believed to have been sitting on the tank near her mother’s house in Ragley when it exploded on Feb. 28. She was thrown into the air and her body was found hundreds of yards away from the tank site. The lawsuit says Day-Smith and family members thought the tanks weren’t being used.

“The absence of security measures or signage led decedent and plaintiffs to believe that the battery was inactive and abandoned, whereas it was actually active and dangerous,” the complaint states.

The company didn’t immediately respond to an email Monday. Urban Oil officials have previously told The Advocate of Baton Rouge that they have sympathy for Day-Smith’s family while broadly defending their safety record and declining further comment.

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