First lawsuit filed related to West fertilizer explosion

22 April 2013 20:39 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The first lawsuit related to the fertilizer explosion in West was filed on Monday in McLennan County district court, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, Randy Roberts of Tyler, Texas.

While not identifying his client directly, Roberts in a press release described the plaintiff as a single, working mother with a minor child whose family "lost all of their worldly possessions" and that the plaintiff "suffered physical as well as emotional injuries".

The suit was filed against Adair Grain, doing business as West Fertilizer Company.

Roberts said that he spent the last few days helping get his client’s affairs in order, including finding her an apartment and vehicle.

The rapid legal response was motivated, he said, by the lack of activity and support offered by the fertilizer distributor in the wake of the massive explosion that killed 14 and injured approximately 200 other citizens of the small Central Texas community.

"It has been almost a week since this explosion, and the fertilizer plant has yet to acknowledge any responsibility, offer any temporary assistance or even attempt to contact the people whose lives have been devastated by this explosion. Immediate action was required,” Roberts said. “There are many people in West who are not as fortunate and whose lives cannot be put back together as easily.”

While he has refused to speak with the media, Adair Grain/West Fertilizer owner Donald Adair, a lifelong resident of West, has issued a public statement about the accident, which is still under investigation by local, state and federal authorities.

“I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathy for those affected and my appreciation for those who responded," Adair said in the statement. "As a lifelong resident, my heart is broken with grief for the tragic losses to so many families in our community. I know that everyone has been deeply affected by this incident. Loved ones have been injured or killed. Homes have been damaged or destroyed. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered."

“Going forward, the owners and employees of Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Co. are working closely with investigating agencies," he said. "We are presenting all employees for interviews and will assist in the fact finding to whatever degree possible. We pledge to do everything we can to understand what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in any community."

Adair said that neither he nor his company will be speaking further publicly on the explosion while the investigation continues.

By Mark Milam