Houston Chemical Plant Faces $1 Million Lawsuit After Harvey Fire

Several first responders who manned a perimeter surrounding a chemical plant fire outside Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have filed a lawsuit against the plant’s owner for more than $1 million. Police and paramedics who were exposed to smoke at the plant say they “doubled over vomiting” and gasping for breath after inhaling the fumes of burning organic peroxides, a scene described as “nothing less than chaos” in the lawsuit. Filed Thursday, the lawsuit alleges that the plant’s owner, Arkema, played down the dangers of exposure to the fumes and failed to warn first responders posted on the plant’s perimeter to move farther away after the first explosions sent chemicals into the air. “Immediately upon being exposed to the fumes from the explosion, and one by one, the police officers and first responders began to fall ill in the middle of the road,” the lawsuit says. Arkema has vowed to “vigorously defend” itself in the lawsuit, which it described as “gravely mistaken” in a statement released Thursday.