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Texas roofer suffers burns, smoke inhalation in tar fire

Roofing is a very dangerous line of work in Texas. Not only are roofers at risk of falling from elevated heights, they also often work with dangerous and flammable materials.

Just last week, a Galveston, Texas, roofer was injured after a fire ignited in a tar mixer and he attempted to put it out. According to a report, firefighters were called to Morgan Roofing last Tuesday morning after a fire ignited in an asphalt kettle.

The worker had been performing maintenance on the mixer when the fire began. He suffered burns on his face and smoke inhalation. The Galveston fire chief said that the worker had attempted to put out the fire himself, but it proved too powerful.

The fire reportedly caused heavy black smoke billowing into the sky that could be seen for miles. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames by closing the kettle door and smothering the fire, the fire chief said.

The injured worker was rushed to the University of Texas Medical Branch for treatment. He was released later the same day. It was not reported if the injuries he sustained are permanent. However, it is likely that the worker will miss at least some time from work.

Following an accident like this, a worker has a couple different options. Depending on circumstances surrounding the accident, the injured worker could potentially be eligible for compensation under a negligence theory, products liability theory or under Texas' workers' compensation program.

Typically, injured workers applying for workers' compensation must report the injury to their employers and file certain forms within a restricted period of time in order to begin receiving benefits. If the workers' compensation claim is disputed, many workers rely on an attorney to assist them through the administrative proceedings, judicial proceedings and/or appeals.

However, it's important to remember that if you receive workers' compensation benefits, you will not be able to sue your employer for negligence. Although you may still be able to sue a third party that is responsible for the accident.

Source: The Daily News, "Roofer injured in morning tar kettle fire," Chris Paschenko, Nov. 9, 2011.

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