On or before Thursday, January 9, 2014, a chemical spill occurred at the Freedom Industries plant in Charleston, West Virginia. The leak – which involved the coal processing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol – later spilled into the Elk River and a nearby water treatment plant. As a result of the leak, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency. President Obama later responded by declaring a Federal State of Emergency for West Virginia. Declaring the spill a Federal Disaster will ensure direct federal assistance to local and state relief efforts.[videosingle id=”170″ / ]
Shortly after the spill, a water use ban was issued for all those potentially affected by the leak. In total, residents of nine counties were advised not to drink, bathe, wash their hands, or use tap water for anything aside from flushing the toilet. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources also ordered a mandatory closure for restaurants in the affected areas, as well as certain businesses that use tap water.
The affected counties include:
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As long-time advocates for West Virginians who have suffered damages through no fault of their own, Mani, Ellis & Layne responded immediately to the chemical leak by filing the first class-action complaint against Freedom Industries, Inc. Our legal team filed the complaint on behalf of businesses affected by the spill, including eateries that were required to close as the result of Freedom’s negligence and gross in actions.
Our firm is passionate about protecting the rights of those who suffered losses as a result of this preventable tragedy. Many of the thousands of businesses affected were small businesses that were severely impacted by having to close their doors.
Freedom industries did not self-report the spill and DEP air quality officials were the first to discover material leaking from the bottom of a storage tank that had overrun a concrete dike meant to serve as backup around the tank. As a result, the chemical spilled into the Elk River toward a water treatment facility located downriver from the Freedom Industries plant. Although more information about Freedom’s actions will come to light, it is likely that their carelessness and inaction contributed to the spill, water ban, and subsequent business closures.
Our West Virginia lawyers are prepared to represent West Virginians and businesses affected by the Freedom Industries chemical leak, including restaurants and other eateries. If you would like more information about your rights, filing a claim, and how our firm can help, allow our legal team to review your case. Our firm is located in Charleston and represents clients throughout the state of West Virginia. Call (800) 900-0673 to discuss your case.
Chemical Leak Resources & Updates: