TPC faces at least 5 lawsuits after Port Neches plant explosions, fire

Judge approves temporary restraining order

HOUSTON – TPC is facing at least five lawsuits after last week’s explosions and fire at the company’s Port Neches plant.

A judge in Harris County, where the company is headquartered, granted a temporary restraining order Monday. The order requires that the company preserve any evidence that is related to the fire. A similar order was filed in Jefferson County, where the plant is located.

The restraining order was brought by attorneys representing Brian Lange, a resident of Port Neches who lives less than a quarter-mile away from the plant. He is being joined by a few dozen other residents in bringing a class-action lawsuit.

A series of explosions Wednesday and the subsequent fire resulted in the evacuation of thousands of people who live around the plant. Those residents were allowed to return to their homes Friday but were warned of dangerous asbestos that could be in the debris from the plant.

Some of the chemicals that have been burning for days are known to cause cancer. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, elevated levels of butadiene, one of the carcinogenic chemicals, have been detected, but they are within guidelines and do not pose a threat at this time.

Attorney Bill Ogden, who is representing some Port Neches residents, said the paperwork that has been filed thus far will help protect anyone who might become sick as a result of the fire in the future.

“What happens if I get sick in 15 years?” Ogden asked. “So, the future medical monitoring is a legal mechanism that set up a remedy for those people to come back and litigate that issue.”

A spokeswoman for TPC said the company is aware of the lawsuits and cannot comment on pending litigation.

TPC Group is providing updates of the response to the fire at PortNechesResponse.com.

About the Authors: