HOUSTON (FOX 26) - 135 days have passed since the ITC tank farm burst into flames, an explosion that burned for four, long days filling the skies with hazardous pollutants and the water with tons of toxic firefighting foam.
Fox 26 has obtained exclusive images of the catastrophe at ground zero, video captured as the inferno threatened huge storage tanks filled with hydrocarbons. The footage is potential evidence against ITC which has drawn an estimated 6,000 plaintiffs so far.
William Conroy lives 5 miles from the ITC facility and works even closer. As pollutants corrupted the air, he suffered nose bleeds and severe headaches. His 17 year old daughter endured shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.
“Fear, fear of the unknown. It’s kind of like a bad neighbor just throwing trash out in the street every day. Enough is enough,” said Conroy who believes ITC shortchanged safety measures to cut costs.
Attorneys William Ogden and Chance McMillan are suing ITC on behalf of 1700 victims alleging, among other things, negligence in triggering the inferno and negligence in combating the fire once it began burning out of control.
“There one job is to hold it (fuels and chemicals) and make sure a fire doesn’t start, that’s literally the only thing they do. Pump it on to ships, pump it off and make sure a fire doesn’t happen that you can’t put out,” said Ogden.
McMillan flatly rejects any suggestion that the hazardous fallout from fires and explosions are part of the risk folks must accept if they choose to live near the petro-chemical complex.
“I push back on that. The 6th grader at Bonnett Jr. High did not sign up for this. The 16-year-old football player on the Deer Park football team whose out there in the summer running, they did not sign up for this. I think that is a very callous way to look at this situation,” said McMillan.
Fox 26 contacted Baker Botts, the well- known law firm representing ITC. A spokesman declined comment.