Texas attorneys have filed a restraining order to preserve evidence at the scene of the incident. Four people died and one person was seriously injured. No one knows what happened, but a valve may have leaked methyl mercaptan.
The toxic chemical has a rotten-egg smell and is added to odorless natural gas. It is also used as an insecticide. When inhaled, it can cause respiratory damage. It also causes serious eye and skin irritation.
The daughter of one victim, Crystal Wise, has already filed a lawsuit. Another lawsuit has been filed by the widow of Gilbert Tisnado. Other victims included Gilbert’s brother, Robert, and Wade Baker.
NBC News reports that the Tisnado family said Robert ran inside the plant when the leak occurred. After he failed to return, his brother Gilbert ran in, found Robert unconscious, and put his face mask on his brother.
The plant has had over two dozen citations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since 2009. Most of the violations are minor, but at least four involve emissions of toxic gas into the air.
Local Fox News also reports that a former employee, Barbara Acker, took photographs showing hazardous chemicals leaking out of containers, improper storage of hundreds of chemicals, and improper disposal of acids.
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