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Mid-County homeowners join lawsuit against Nederland Wash Tank in aftermath of Dec. 2021 leak

A tanker truck released toxic fumes into the air on Beauxart Garden Road for nearly a week in early December.

NEDERLAND, Texas — Mid-County homeowners are firing back a month after a stinky situation.

They said the hazmat fumes they faced were dangerous, and they've joined a lawsuit against Nederland Tank Wash.

As you remember, a tanker truck released toxic fumes into the air on Beauxart Garden Road for nearly a week.

Some living within a few blocks of the chemical leak evacuated said the smell was just too much to take. Others chose to find ways to deal with the odors.

12news learned the Ferguson Law Firm in Beaumont is already representing more than 50 victims who say the leak harmed them.

One of the neighborhoods that's less than a mile from the site of the leak and people here want answers. They're worried about their health, their homes, and even the potential of a future leak.

"We were headed to the movies, going to the movies, during the holiday times, and we passed by and I said, I remember telling my wife that smells pretty bad, but I know that smell," said Ron LeBlanc who was impacted by the chemical leak.

LeBlanc works at refineries around Southeast Texas and knew something wasn't right.

"When we woke up it was just all through the house, it burned your eyes, your eyes were literally burning," LeBlanc said.

He said nobody told his family what was going on.

"[I] never received word from officials. You had to go search for information on Facebook, what is the 311, 411, the emergency response, STAN, none of that," LeBlanc said.

Now, LeBlanc could be getting answers. The Ferguson Law Firm is stepping in filing a lawsuit against Nederland Tank Wash and Pulido Transport on behalf of residents impacted by the nearly two-week-long event.

The main charge against the company is negligence "allowing dangerous chemicals to be released into the community, and acting in a careless and negligent manner without due regard for the safety of others."

"The community wants to know why their home smells like rotten eggs, the community wants to know why this even happened and what is the company doing to prevent this from happening again," Cody Dishon, partner at Ferguson Law Firm.

Dishon said the company failed to communicate with residents about what to do.

"The company should have been straightforward with everybody and told them to evacuate until they had more information about what was going on,” Dishon said. "Instead they were told stay in your home and spray Febreze to get rid of the smell, the Febreze didn’t work, and the hotline didn’t work as well,
so we believe the companies response was inadequate, to say the least."

A lawyer with Nederland Tank Wash said based on monitoring done by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the city of Nederland found that concentration levels did not present a health risk to the community. Pulido Transport did not make themselves available for comment.

LeBlanc and many others disagree.

"I had a little headache, my eyes were burning, my wife had a really bad headache and my daughter was nauseous, it was just a sickening feeling being around it, you just couldn't be there for a long period of time," Leblanc said.

The lawsuit will also have a primary focus on restoring homes in this area that could still have lingering traces of hazardous chemicals.

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