First responders injured during Arkema plant fire file lawsuit

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CROSBY, Texas – Attorneys representing several first responders filed a lawsuit Thursday, claiming an initial fire burning at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby sickened their clients.

“It’s not something that should happen when you go to work to protect your community," said attorney Misty Hataway-Cone.

For several days, those living within 1.5 miles of the Arkema plant were told to stay out of their homes. Flood waters swamped safety systems designed to keep organic peroxides at the facility cool. When the chemicals heated up, fires erupted.

A trio of attorneys now want to know about what the plant did to prepare for Harvey. On Thursday, a judge granted the attorneys a temporary restraining order to ensure the company preserves all evidence related to the crisis.

“All the documents, all the emails, communications, anything that was done leading up to the hurricane coming in," said attorney Kim Spurlock.

READ: Fire extinguished at Arkema's Crosby plant

The lawsuit claims that during the initial fire on Aug. 31, several sheriff’s deputies and EMS crews outside the evacuation zone reported getting sick. Attorneys said their clients reported driving into a cloud near the perimeter of the evacuation zone.

“Double over and vomiting, to the other end of it, chemical bronchitis," said Hataway-Cone. "Immediately upon it coming in their air conditioners is when they started suffering these issues from the burning eyes, burning skin and the difficulty breathing."