Texas Fertilizer Plant Owner Sued After Explosion Kills 14
The owner of the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded last week has been sued by a single mom, as well as several insurance companies.
Adair Grain, Inc., the parent company to West Fertilizer Co., has seen two lawsuits filed against it for negligence, according to copies of the filings provided on Tuesday by the court.
The explosion in West, Texas, killed 14 people, destroyed more than a dozen homes, and injured more than 170 people. One of the suits was filed on Friday by insurance companies on behalf of individuals, two churches, and businesses including a Chevrolet car dealership and a bakery.
The lawsuit alleges that the company “was negligent in the operation of its facility, creating an unreasonably dangerous condition, which led to the fire and explosion.”
It was already known that West Fertilizer Co.’s fertilizer supply was not reported to the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS requires any stockpile of fertilizer over 400 pounds to be reported by companies so that a proper safety plan can be in place. The company had several thousand tons of the volatile material at the time of the explosion on April 17.
Investigators have still not determined what caused the fertilizer plant to explode. The second lawsuit was filed by Andrea Jones Gutierrez, a single, working mother who lived in the apartment complex blown apart by the blast.
The suit, filed on Monday seeks damages of $500,000 to $1 million. Gutierrez and her child lost their apartment, along with all of their possessions. The pair also suffered physical and emotional injuries.
Daniel Keeney, a spokesman for Adair Grain Inc, and its owner Donald Adair, declined to comment on the lawsuits. Keeney stated instead, “Our focus is on the fact-finding and on assisting the investigating agencies in any way we can.”
The lawsuit filed by insurance companies does not list damages, because most residents of West do not yet know what they have lost. Dallas lawyer Paul Grinke, the lead attorney in the lawsuit, explained that some of them only have the clothing they were wearing when they abandoned their homes last Wednesday evening.
Grinke added that the families of both lawsuits are not out to get the Adair family. Instead, many of them consider the family, who also resides in West, as friends. He explained, “No one I have spoken with in the community of West are after the family themselves. They really do like them and they are prominent members of the community.”
It is unclear when investigators will find the cause of the massive fertilizer plant explosion. It is likely, however, that more lawsuits will be filed in the coming weeks.