HOUSTON – It took International Terminal Company three days to put out the fire that recently erupted at its La Porte facility. It took area residents less than two weeks to file a lawsuit as a result.
On March 29, four plaintiffs filed suit against ITC in Harris County District Court, seeking damages exceeding $1 million.
The fire started at the ITC facility on March 17 and raged for the next three days, sending black smoke throughout neighboring cities.
The suit alleges surrounding neighborhoods were exposed to benzene, and other toxic chemicals, as a result of ITC’s “grossly negligent conduct.”
“Upon information and belief, the fire started when an ITC tank overheated, and safety mechanisms failed, making ITC unable to prevent the blaze for (sic) starting and spreading,” the suit states. “Because of ITC’s acts, Benzene, Xylene, Naphtha, and other dangerous and toxic chemicals were released into the atmosphere in Harris County, causing physical symptoms to manifest in Plaintiffs as well as many more citizens.”
The plaintiffs in the suit are Charles Watts Jr., Veronica Coleman, Mary Ann Bridge.
On top of exemplary damages, the plaintiffs are suing for their mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, impairment and medical expenses, which includes psychiatric care.
They are represented by Robert Hillard, attorney for the Corpus Christi law firm Hilliard Martinez Gonzales.
Cause No. 2019-22739