HOUSTON (AP) — Seven police officers and other emergency responders say they were sickened by a chemical fire at a storm-flooded plant outside Houston, according to a lawsuit they filed against the owner Thursday that seeks $1 million and alleges gross negligence.
The seven also are demanding a restraining order to prevent plant owner Arkema Inc. from altering the scene.
The suit in local court alleges Arkema failed to properly store the chemicals considering how prone the region is to floods. The chemicals became unstable and exploded in flames on Aug. 31 after refrigeration was lost to generator failures.
The officers were manning the 1.5-mile (2.41-kilometer) perimeter of an evacuation zone established two days earlier after plant workers abandoned the Arkema facility, warning of impending disaster.
The suit says they doubled over vomiting, unable to breathe. It says medical personnel who tried to help were also overwhelmed and began to vomit and gasp for air. Some officers jumped inside their vehicles and drove themselves to the hospital.
At the time, local authorities said that they were treated for respiratory irritation and released.
An Arkema spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Thursday.
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