2 LyondellBasell contractors killed in La Porte leak identified

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Thursday, July 29, 2021
2 LyondellBasell contractors killed in La Porte leak identified
While we learn more about the two men killed, a worker has filed a $1M lawsuit, claiming "negligence and gross negligence" by the company.

LA PORTE, Texas (KTRK) -- The identities of the two men killed in a chemical leak at LyondellBasell in La Porte Tuesday night have been released.

Shawn Kuhleman, 32, and Dustin Day, 36, were both contractors for the chemical plant.

Plant officials said approximately 100,000 pounds of acetic acid was released in a chemical leak the facility located at 1515 Miller Cut-Off Road at about 7:35 p.m. Tuesday. According LyondellBassell, it was an acid that is used in food-grade vinegar. It can cause severe burns and is very dangerous if swallowed or inhaled.

In total, 30 workers were taken to the hospital, 29 for respiratory complications and one for burns. As of Wednesday night, two people injured were still hospitalized.

ORIGINAL STORY: 2 dead, 30 hospitalized in chemical leak at LyondellBasell chemical plant in La Porte

Now, many of the injured who have been released from the hospital are looking into their legal options.

Thursday morning, LyondellBasell worker Mike Lopez filed a $1 million lawsuit, claiming he suffered significant injuries because of "negligence and gross negligence" at the hands of the company.

In the lawsuit, Lopez described the incident as a "sudden and unexpected explosion" in the facility's acetyls unit area. He also claims he suffered severe mental and emotional injuries as a result of LyondellBasell's gross negligence.

Lopez said he had to evacuate and flee for his life. During the evacuation, he reportedly suffered multiple severe injuries to all parts of his body.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," said personal injury attorney Miriah Soliz. "I can tell you I'm investigating over a dozen claims right now."

She said the plant workers she's representing have severe injuries that they're continuing to feel the effects of, along with the anguish of a mass casualty event.

"It's just awful," Soliz said. "They have severe trauma. They're seeing people screaming and yelling, grown men crying, getting flooded with gas and fumes. Unable to breathe, making them very ill, and not knowing whether their friends survived or not."

WATCH: Dozens of claims being investigated after chemical leak, lawyer says

"It's just awful," said a personal injury lawyer. "They have severe trauma."

Soliz said she plans to file a temporary restraining order Thursday to make sure she and her team of hired experts can do their own investigation and see exactly what things were like on the day of the incident.

"It shouldn't have happened, but I'm going to make sure my clients get the full amount of damages allowed under the law," Soliz said.

The Harris County Precinct 8 Constable's Office said the 30 people hospitalized were part of the 42 total people who required treatment for injuries, ranging from minor to critical.

The exact cause of the leak is still being investigated.

SEE ALSO: La Porte chemical release leaves residents worried: 'They're going to push everyone out of here'

"The plants are right across from our house," said a La Porte resident. "It's really terrifying to hear something like that."