CHARLESTON – Another lawsuit has been filed against DuPont for a warehouse fire that occurred in October and caused damages.
SirNaik LLC; Surnaik Holdings of WV; Polymer Alliance Services; Green Sustainable Solutions; Intercontinental Export Import; and DowDuPont were all named as defendants in the suit.
Steve Mohwish; Savannah Rodgers; Scot Heckert; Sheila Diane Heckert; Ranford Craig Heckert; FJM Contracting; and O.B.’s Used Cars, RVs & Motorcycles filed the lawsuit on Nov. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants’ failure to properly operate and/or maintain the warehouse facility which contained a number of hazardous flammable materials, including pellets, flake, strand, beads, plop, dust, granules and resins and materials such as OVC, Nylon, Carbon black, Titanium dioxide, Fiberglass, Maleic Anhydride TLV 0.1 ppm, formaldehyde, Teflon, Styrene, Acrylonitrile, Polybutylene Terephthalate and/or acrylic sheets, which resulted in an explosion, fire and the migration of hazardous materials that caused Gov. Jim Justice to declare a state of emergency for Wood County on Oct. 23. The explosion occurred two days prior to the declaration of the state of emergency.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants should have ensured that the materials it sold to the warehouse owner were safely stored and handled.
“Defendant DuPont, as a chemical manufacturer, had a duty to work with customers, carriers, suppliers, distributors and contractors to foster the safe and secure use of its chemical products and to encourage and assist other companies in the safe storage of the chemicals it sells to others,” the complaint states.
By continuing to sell hazardous, flammable materials to the warehouse owners despite safety concerns, DuPont breached its duty of care, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim DuPont did so without properly monitoring and/or inspecting its hazardous materials and/or the warehouse facility where its hazardous flammable materials would be and were stored.
“The hazardous flammable materials sold by DuPont and stored inside of the subject warehouse facility later exploded inside of the subject warehouse facility,” the complaint states.
Residents in Wood County and the surrounding areas reported having issues with breathing, burning skin, eyes and throat from the ash that traveled approximately 40 miles from the warehouse, according to the suit.
“Schools closed, buses stopped running, businesses closed and government agencies closed,” the complaint states. “Toxicity increased and caused toxic water run-off into the creeks and river. Moreover, the fire department nearly drained the city’s water reservoir, as more than 6 million gallons of water from the city were used to extinguish the fire, as defendants failed to have an active sprinkler system.”
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Timothy C. Bailey and Taylor M. Norman of Bailey, Javins & Carter; Harry G. Deitzler of Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Deitzler; and Anthony J. Majestro, James C. Powell of Powell & Majestro.
Three class action lawsuits were previously filed against some of the defendants for the warehouse fire. Those lawsuits were originally filed in Wood Circuit Court and removed to federal court.
The plaintiffs in the three complaints claim they suffered injuries from smoke inhalation and particulate matter in the air from the fire at the 420,000-square-foot facility.
The plaintiffs claim they have suffered respiratory issues and are being subjected to an ongoing health risk. Some of them seek medical monitoring costs.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:17-cv-11111