HOUSTON – A French chemical company was hit with a lawsuit over alleged explosions at its Northeast Harris County facility following a hurricane, recent Harris County District Court records indicate.
Attorney Kimberley M. Spurlock of the law firm Spurlock & Associates, P.C. in Humble filed the suit against Arkema, Inc. on behalf of seven Harris County residents in the 333rd Harris County District Court on Sept. 7.
The plaintiffs accuse Arkema of not failing to prepare its Crosby facility ahead of Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey made landfall along the middle section of the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm on the night of Aug. 25. It drenched most of Southeast Texas with approximately 50 inches of rain, leaving many parts of Houston and surrounding areas underwater.
Per the suit, Arkema’s negligence caused its employees to vacate the Crosby plant on Aug. 29 and leave behind “hazardous and toxic chemicals with no supervision.”
Court documents assert the company knew the chemicals required refrigeration, but did nothing to “adequately prepare for back-up refrigeration of those chemicals in the event of a power outage or other catastrophe – an issue that Arkema has previously been cited for by governmental authorities.”
The complainants further explain that they were prompted to evacuate, as well as assured the chemicals were harmless. The first of several explosions reportedly occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 31.
According to the original petition, the events at the plant prevented residents from accessing their flood-damaged homes and inflicted “severe” bodily injuries.
Court records show that the plaintiffs obtained a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction.
A jury trial is requested.
Harris County 333 rd District Court Case No. 2017-58465