If You Live or Work in Carson, CA, You May Be Entitled to Compensation!
Anyone who works or lives in Carson is familiar with the foul odor that emanates from the Dominguez Channel. In fact, many residents have started to notice symptoms that this environmental hazard may be having a negative impact on their health. The pungent smell that permeates the area is a result of noxious hydrogen sulfide gas, which has led some residents to file claims against the business responsible for the odor. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you may be entitled to compensation for personal injury.
What Is the Cause of the Smell?
According to a class-action case that has been proposed to the Los Angeles Superior Court, the odor that residents have noticed is the result of a fire that recently broke out in an area warehouse. The class action states that the building houses an ethanol-based hand sanitizer, which is extremely flammable. The basis for the complaint is that the warehouse lessee has not maintained safe conditions on the property and is therefore responsible for the fire.
Attorneys have implied that when the fire occurred, it resulted in hand sanitizer, pallets, cardboard, and other such debris moving into the channel where hydrogen sulfide was released into the air. Those noxious fumes are the cause of the terrible stench that is being experienced in the area. In addition to the statements by attorneys, the director of Public Works for the county has also said the investigation they are conducting indicates that the fire is the cause of the smell.
The burnt debris got into the channel through area storm drains and then stayed in the stagnant water. As the debris sat there, it caused the surrounding natural vegetation to decay. This decay is what created the hydrogen sulfide gas, a corrosive material that is both toxic and highly flammable.
What Symptoms Are Others Experiencing?
For more than two weeks now, Carson area employees and residents have been experiencing side effects from the hydrogen sulfide in the air that they believe constitutes a public health emergency. One area resident has noted that the side effects she has experienced include burning eyes, sore throat, and chest pains. Her concern is that this poses a hazard to her children as well.
Some of the side effects that others have experienced include everything from hair loss and rashes to bloody noses. Monique Alvarez, who lives in the area, has been so deeply affected by the smell that she stated, “It’s a chemical and psychological warfare that I feel we are fighting here in our communities – in our homes…There’s a danger lurking in my home at night. I can’t see it. But I can feel it.”
The sickening odor is similar to that of sewer gas and has irritated the noses, eyes, and skin of those in the area, as well as causing headaches. However, those aren’t the only negative side effects. The case being proposed also states that “exposure to toxic chemicals for a prolonged period of time in one’s home and environment is known to lead to mental health conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and worry.” Other area residents claim that in addition to waking and keeping them up at night, they have had an increase in migraine headaches. Some have even moved out of the area to escape the putrid fumes.
Who Is Responsible for the Disaster?
Art Naturals is the name of the warehouse lessee that produces the hand sanitizer that led to the fire. The owners of the warehouse, Liberty Property, LP, and Prologis, Inc., are the co-defendants in the current case being brought before the Los Angeles Superior Court. Liberty Property was acquired by Prologis, Inc. in 2019.
The current case proposes that these co-defendants pay for future medical monitoring for those affected by the hydrogen sulfide gas. It also aims to have the company pay for relocation expenses for area residents who have been exposed. The case states that debris from the fire and warehouse materials negatively reacted with vegetation and stagnant water in the Dominguez Channel, which empties into Long Beach Harbor.
What Are Officials Saying?
The complaints that have been lodged have moved Carson City leaders to seek investigations by fire officials, air quality management, the health department, and the county Public Works. Robert Ruiz, the Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain, is quoted as saying the odor is “not lethal or deadly” after air samples were taken, but this has done little to quell the fears of area residents. The county has offered reimbursements for meals, hotel stays, air purifiers, and air filters.
Mark Petrella, the Director of Los Angeles County Public Works, stated, “That fire as we mentioned in your press conference is suspect number one for us, in respect to the materials that have entered into the channel,” on October 14th. Officials are offering advice to area residents, which indicates they recognize the problem. They have told those living nearby to keep their windows and doors closed, to use portable high-efficiency air filters, and to run their air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems.
Although the smell still permeates the area, crews are taking measures to resolve the issue, including the use of non-toxic, biodegradable deodorizers, which they spray into the channel in hopes that it will get rid of the smell. Their efforts have resulted in a decrease in sulfide levels, but the problem has not been completely eradicated. Other methods they have in place include the installation of aeration devices, which they believe will speed up the decomposition process of the organic matter. This may, however, cause the odor to become worse for a time.
How Can You Pursue Legal Action?
If you have been affected by the noxious hydrogen sulfide gas released by the fire at the Art Naturals warehouse, it is vital to ensure the good health of you and your household or business. To secure the compensation you deserve for the ill effects you are experiencing, you need an experienced personal injury law team on your side. At Chris and Frank, we have the expertise to help you navigate the legal process and seek compensation. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your claim.
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