As the Houston Metro area continues to cope with impacts from the devastating ITC Deer Park petrochemical fire, hundreds of residents who suffered injuries and other losses in connection with the disaster are beginning to consider their options for compensation.
“In the past three days, we’ve had over 200 people contact us,” Ryan Zehl, a top Houston Plant Explosion Lawyer with Zehl & Associates, told ABC 13 on Wednesday. “So, I would say based on that alone, it is going to be a big deal.”
ITC Deer Park Fire Reignited Just Hours After Being Extinguished
The ITC Deer Park fire broke out on St. Patrick’s Day morning, creating a miles-long plume of thick, black smoke that hovered over the Houston area for days.
Although it appeared firefighters had finally extinguished the massive blaze early Wednesday morning, it briefly reignited yesterday afternoon.
“If somehow the foam blanket might have been exposed, exposing a vapor and there’s hot metal that’s been burning for four days, it can reignite very quickly,” said Mark Sloan, Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Because further flare-ups are still possible, fire crews will remain at the site until the danger has passed.
“They’re Spitting Up Blood, They’re Vomiting. They Have Headaches.”
Many of those who’ve contacted Zehl & Associates in recent days are experiencing symptoms consistent with respiratory exposure to xylene, naphtha, and toluene, three of the known chemicals involved in the ITC Deer Park petrochemical fire.
“They have asthma and it’s worse,” Mr. Zehl noted. “They’re spitting up blood, they’re vomiting. They have headaches. They’re sick, and they don’t know what they’re breathing, so they’re scared.”
These chemicals can also cause a number of long-term health problems, including cancer, brain and central nervous system damage, and liver and kidney problems.
ITC’s “Claims Process” Bars Individuals from Filing Lawsuits for Future Injuries & Wage Losses
Earlier this week, ITC expressed a willingness to compensate those injured as a result of the Deer Park fire.
Unfortunately, anyone who accepts compensation through ITC’s recently-announced “claims process” is PERMANENTLY BARRED from later filing a lawsuit to hold the company responsible for serious (or even fatal) medical conditions that develop in the future, including cancer and chronic respiratory distress.
“What happens if you accept $1,000 because that covers your medical bills today, but then in three months from now you’re diagnosed with Leukemia?” Mr. Zehl asked.
According to ABC 13, he advised anyone sickened by the Deer Park plant fire to see their doctor first, and then speak with an attorney before signing anything from ITC.
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