20,000 Fled Toxic Chemical Cloud|As Texas Fertilizer Plant Burned

HOUSTON (CN) – Twenty thousand people had to evacuate Bryan, Texas, when a daylong fire destroyed El Dorado Chemical Company’s fertilizer plant, releasing a toxic cloud of ammonium nitrate on July 30-31, a class action claims in Federal Court. “The entire city of Bryan and other areas of Brazos County were essentially shut down during the fire,” according to the complaint.

     The fire was started by a spark from an arc welder, the complaint states.
     “The fire burned for an entire day, releasing toxic, hazardous and ultrahazardous materials into the surrounding neighborhoods and blanketing a large portion of Brazos County,” the class claims. “Bryan city authorities urged anyone who could smell or see the smoke to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere. On information and believe, the total number of evacuees is estimated to exceed 20,000.”
     The class seeks damages and punitive damages for “loss of use homes and businesses, lost earnings and wages, economic losses from businesses, inconvenience and annoyance.”
     El Dorado Chemical Co. is based in Oklahoma City. The class is represented by Donald Grissom of Austin.

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