Firefighters suing SoCal Gas over Porter Ranch gas leak

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Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Three years after the massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, firefighters are suing SoCal gas over health issues they believe are connected to the disaster.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Three years after the massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, firefighters who responded to the disaster say they're coming down with mysterious symptoms.

Some are now suing SoCal Gas, fearing they were exposed to dangerous chemicals that are making them sick.

The 56-page lawsuit lists a mountain of health issues that they firefighters say they have been suffering from. Among them: dizziness, equilibrium problems, tremors, bloody noses, headaches.

A Los Angeles firefighter who asked not to be identified spoke to Eyewitness News about the health issues he has struggled with since being exposed to what he believes were harmful chemicals spewing from the ground while working in and around the SoCal Gas leak three years ago at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch.

"County health, county hazmat, the head of the facility at Aliso Canyon and his lead chemists all came down and told us that there was absolutely no hazard to anybody, to us or anyone in the community," he said. "And now I feel as though I've been betrayed and everybody that I've worked with has been betrayed and lied to."

This firefighter along with more than two dozen of his colleagues have filed suit against SoCal Gas claiming they were exposed to harmful chemicals emitted from the gas leak.

"It's a chemical stew up there," said attorney Patricia Oliver. "Chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, radon."

SoCal Gas issued a statement saying it respects the firefighters but believes that the gas leak did not result in a long-term risk to public health.

The company's statement reads:

"SoCalGas has worked as a partner alongside first responders, including the Los Angeles Fire Department, throughout our history. We have the utmost respect and appreciation for the hard work, professionalism, and dedication to safety demonstrated each day by California fire fighters.

"As the attorneys for the first responders well know, thousands of air, soil and dust samples were tested during the leak and for months afterwards by multiple public health agencies. All the data collected and analyzed by public health officials have shown that there was and is no long-term risk to public health or safety from the gas leak."