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Richmond Fire Leads to Toxic Exposure and Losses

On April 11, 2023, an industrial fire broke out in Richmond, Indiana spreading toxic chemicals in Wayne County and possibly the surrounding areas. The fire was so large that authorities told residents within a half mile of the blaze to evacuate. Shortly after, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detected hydrogen cyanide and benzene, as well as other hazardous chemicals, in the air.

Those living in Richmond were exposed to toxic chemicals, and the chemicals may have also impacted those living in surrounding areas. If you suspect that you breathed in hazardous chemicals from the fire in Richmond or another disaster, you need to contact a personal injury attorney who can help you recover compensation. You may suffer from serious health conditions as a direct result of the warehouse owner’s negligence. 

Industrial Fire in Richmond, Indiana

The recycling center My Way Trading was responsible for the fire and was the source of the airborne toxic chemicals. The owner, Seth Smith, unsafely stored industrial plastics within wall-to-wall warehouses. When the fire broke out, the stored plastics burned, releasing asbestos, benzene, carbon monoxide, chlorine, hydrogen cyanide, and other chemicals into the air.   

Richmond and federal officials were quick to warn residents that the burning plastics may contain toxins that cause cancer. In addition to this delayed effect, breathing in high doses of hydrogen cyanide can be fatal. 

Fortunately, no one died from the blaze or the immediate aftermath, but those who were exposed to these harmful chemicals are at risk of developing serious or fatal conditions. Some of the victims are now filing a class action lawsuit against Seth Smith. The case is ongoing, but these victims may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills as well as other damages.

Symptoms of Chemical Exposure

The Richmond fire sheds a light on the importance of holding parties accountable for negligent behavior. My Way Trading likely disregarded others’ safety, and their actions could lead to victims suffering from serious or even fatal diseases, including types of cancers. If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to deadly chemicals, you need to file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. 

Many different types of chemicals can lead to cancers and other diseases, some of which include:

  • Ammonia
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Chlorine
  • Creosote
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen Cyanide
  • Isocyanates
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Mercury
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyl
  • Photoresists
  • Silica
  • Sodium Dioxide

Exposure to any of these chemicals, especially prolonged exposure, is incredibly dangerous. Symptoms of chemical exposure may differ depending on the substance, but common symptoms include:

  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation or rash

Tragically, those who suffer from chemical exposure may develop serious or fatal conditions, such as:

  • Cancer: Lung cancer, mesothelioma, and leukemia
  • Lung Damage: Fibrosis, lung scarring, and reduced lung function
  • Neurological Problems: Headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and coordination problems
  • Reproductive Problems: Infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects
  • Respiratory Issues: Asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Skin Problems: Skin irritation, rashes, and other problems

Many of these issues will require medical attention, so it’s critical that you seek compensation to pay for your bills and other damages. 

Recovering Compensation After Chemical Exposure

If you have been exposed to harmful chemicals, you need to file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. To recover compensation, you’ll need to present evidence to support your case, including medical records, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the exposure. 

Many of those filing against Seth Smith are seeking damages for lost wages and property damages in addition to chemical exposure. The fire prevented many residents from working and also brought down their houses’ property values. 

You may also be able to recover additional damages if you’ve been exposed to harmful chemicals, such as lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more. 

Contact an Indiana Toxic Exposure Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been exposed to harmful chemicals due to the negligence of My Way Trading or another party, you need to act now to recover the compensation for your damages. Fortunately, you’re in the right place — our Indiana personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, and we’ll work to maximize the amount you receive. 

Contact us now at 317-401-8626 or online to get a free consultation.