Worker suffered severe internal and external burns in La Porte plant acid leak, attorney says

Brooke Taylor Image
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
LyondellBasell survivor still in hospital 'covered in burns'
Just one person who survived the LyondellBasell disaster a week ago remains in the hospital, and according to his family's lawyer, he's covered in burns, inside and out.

LA PORTE, Texas (KTRK) -- A week after the deadly chemical leak at the LyondellBasell plant in La Porte, one man is in critical condition fighting for his life.

Seth Wheeler, a 27-year-old contractor, was working close by when 100,000 pounds of acid was released into the air.

SEE ALSO: 2 dead, 30 hospitalized in chemical leak at LyondellBasell chemical plant in La Porte

"He breathed the chemicals in and has internal burns," said Benny Agosto Junior, Wheeler's attorney. "It burns your skin and he's unable to breathe on his own right now."

Agosto has filed a lawsuit against LyondellBasell alleging negligence on behalf of Wheeler.

Wheeler is from the Oklahoma area, and his close family members are now at Memorial Hermann Hospital, standing by his bedside, hoping for a full recovery.

He is not just suffering from burns internally, but externally. According to Agosto, Wheeler has already had several surgeries on his face.

"His condition is grave and severe," Agosto said. "He is covered in protective padding from the burns. The skin has been burned by the acid, including his skin and eyes."

SEE ALSO: 2 LyondellBasell contractors killed in La Porte leak identified

Agosto calls Wheeler a hard worker who loves his job and the industry he works in.

"Seth is a young, wonderful man," Agosto said. "He has a mom and dad supporting him and taking care of him."

As a result of the chemical release, two people died and over 40 others required medical care or hospitalization. On Tuesday, Agosto also announced he would also be filing a lawsuit on behalf of one of the victims killed.

Dustin Day was a veteran who leaves behind his wife. The two were hoping to start a family together soon.

SEE ALSO: 2 workers killed in La Porte chemical leak were 'true family men'

"A man his 30s, expecting a family in the future, and his life has been cut short," Agosto said.

According to Agosto, LyondellBasell became aware of the leak in the Acetyls Unit and called a company that specialized in sealing and repairing industrial leaks.

"After the company recommended that LyondellBasell have the leak repaired, LyondellBasell chose not to have the company repair the leak at the time and instead called other contractors," Agosto said.

LyondellBasell would not comment but did release the following statement:

"It will take some time before a conclusive determination is made regarding the cause of the incident. While we do not yet know what caused this event, we want to better understand the details surrounding it with the aim of preventing a similar incident from occurring."