Lawsuits continue to pile up in deadly plant explosion

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 5:56pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 1:08pm

Lawsuits continue to pile up for the Williams Olifen plant less than a week after a deadly explosion at its Geimser plant.

Vickie Polk said she remembers every detail of last Thursday Morning, when the Williams Olefin plant exploded.

"As we were loading there was a big old blast, explosion, and the plant caught on fire. And then it was all black smoke coming up," she described. Polk works at a plant situated about a mile away.

The problem is that she can't stop remembering what happened, making it hard for her to just get up and go to work in the morning.

"Since then I've tried to go to work one more time and couldn't do it. I was in the parking lot and missed the bus on purpose because I was sick to my stomach. Just scared to go in," Polk confessed.

So Vickie Polk and her husband Christopher turned to attorney Daniel Becnel for help in filing a suit against the corporation.

"We filed a lawsuit on behalf of a number of clients. The reason we file a lawsuit so quickly is because we then file a motion to preserve evidence," said Becnel.

Though only a handful of suits have been filed so far, several lawyers that spoke to NBC33 on Wednesday have said dozens of people have already called them looking to file suits of their own.

“It (the number) always does (grow), and this might be a class action. This particular case we've heard from a number of people that they're scared to file a claim even though they have all the symptoms and injuries because they don't have another job that they could go to, they don't want to be black balled," said Becnel.

Chris Polk is familiar with the process; Becnel handled Polk’s case over 10 years ago when a chemical plant leak left him with lasting health problems. He said he can't believe he is in this situation again, and for now, all he said he wants is to be sure his wife can feel healthy and safe again.

"I didn't think I would ever be back in this situation, especially with my life you know? That’s the goal, to get her better, get her back to work. Get the person she was when she left the house that morning back," said Chris Polk.

NBC33 reached out to the Williams Olifen Corporation for comment. We were told they do not comment on pending litigation.

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