Oil-field accident kills 25-year-old Goliad man

Sonny Long

May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.
Updated May 9, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.

There was a time when Jimmy Burnett rarely left the house without his white cap with the Georgia Bulldog logo on the front.

Burnett, 25, of Goliad, and the father of a 7 1/2-month-old son, died about 10 a.m. Monday in an oil-field accident in Karnes County.

"That hat was rough-billed and always cocked up at an angle," said his brother Bobby Burnett, 26, of Victoria. "He probably wore it every day for four or five years."

Burnett, who worked for Jet Maintenance, was killed at a BHP Billiton Petroleum construction site when a pipe struck him on the head and neck, said Russell Swize, chief deputy with the Karnes County Sheriff's Office.

The company announced on its website Tuesday that operations at the site were immediately stopped when the accident occurred and a full investigation was underway.

The company also noted that, "Our immediate thoughts and condolences are with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased."

Jet Maintenance officials were unavailable for comment.

Nothing was more important to Burnett than family time, his brother said. His outgoing demeanor was a big reason for his popularity among family and friends.

"No matter how bad of a mood he was in, just the way he talked made people smile. He had the perfect personality," his brother said.

The 2006 graduate of Goliad High School took part in sports all through school and got his start in baseball in T-ball with Bill Schaefer as his coach.

"Jimmy was a kid who played baseball very well and enjoyed it just as much," said Schaefer, a former Goliad mayor and sheriff's deputy. "He was also in some of my DARE classes that I taught in Goliad as well."

He said the community has lost three young men, all about the same age, to accidents over the last year or so.

"I only hope that others realize how fragile life is."

And Burnett enjoyed life.

"Unlike most of us who would give the shirt off our backs, Jimmy would give his pants, socks and boots along with it. He never judged anyone," said Bobby Burnett.

He said he is fortunate to have known his brother.

"There's nothing that anyone can say that will make this situation better, but we all need to thank God for the time we were with him."

Burnett will be remembered, his brother said.

"He'll be here with us always now. We've all seen that smile that he's most known for and it's not only imprinted in our imagination, it's imprinted in our hearts."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the accident, said Diana Petterson, regional director, office of public affairs, U.S. Department of Labor.



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