Family of killed boys attend Hattiesburg news conference

HATTIESBURG, MS  WDAM) - "October 31st 2011 marks the second anniversary of the accident that occurred in Carnes, Mississippi," said Chairman of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Rafael Moure-Eraso.

That incident is the reason the friends and family of Wade White and Devon Byrd were here at the Hampton Inn in Hattiesburg.

It is just one of the reasons why Eraso was here to release its final report into three accidents that occurred at petroleum storage facilities in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

"After reviewing the work of our investigators I can not help but believe that these accidents are internally preventable," said Eraso.

Eraso says after the accident in Carnes the board learned there were no federal, state or local agencies working to prevent such incidents. After much investigation they believe they can.

"The CSB believes that we can prevent future accidents and improve the safety of oil and gas sites across the country," said Eraso.

According to CSB investigator Vidisha Parasram prevention starts with the recommendations issued by the board to national, state and local agencies, which includes securities that national and state levels fail to address in its laws.

"Perimeter fencing, locks and signage," said Parasram.

Parasram says those preventions seem simple but the investigation team rarely found them at sites.

"The team also found a lack of inherently safer tank designs that could have prevented these accidents," said Parasram.

Parasram added, on a national level there were no regulations for the safety of the public, but Senator Billy Hudson says he hopes soon the same can not be said for this state.

"My bill this session of the legislation, which starts in January, we are reintroducing our bill for the fencing," said Hudson.

On the county level, an ordinance is in limbo.

"The Forrest County Board of Supervisors passed ordinances pertaining to these oil and gas storage sites, including fencing, signage, locked gates. That ordinance is being appealed by one of the gas companies that operates in forrest county."

Grandparents of Devon Byrd, say there should be no second thoughts to the safety measures.

"I feel that it should be a no brainer. If we could do something to save lives than we should do it," said Devon Byrd, Sr.

Wade Whites parents added even with the delays, having the board issue safety recommendation to national and local agencies is encouraging.

"I feel like this is going to make a difference, that these lives will make a difference in saving other lives. Something good maybe will come from this," said Phillip White.

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