Local News

More Apex residents will see checks from EQ

Posted April 23, 2010 7:31 a.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2010 7:08 p.m. EDT

— A second group of Apex homeowners will be paid for the trouble caused when a local hazardous waste facility caught fire and exploded in October 2006.

A court order filed Friday in the case against Environmental Quality Industrial Services, Inc., names an additional 146 members to the class action lawsuit, making them eligible for up to $750 for expenses incurred when they were forced to leave their homes on Oct. 5, 2006.

The payments will be in addition to earlier payments from EQ to compensate for evacuation expenses.

When the EQ facility erupted into a fireball, town officials ordered about 17,000 people to evacuate because they feared that toxic chemicals were in the plume of smoke that spread over Apex.

Investigators determined that improperly stored canisters caused the rapid spread of the fire throughout the facility.

Residents sued EQ and some of the companies that sent oxygen canisters to the facility for disposal. Some residents claimed health problems from exposure to the smoke from the fire, but environmental tests taken during and after the evacuation showed no harmful effects from the plume.

EQ and two Alabama-based companies eventually settled with home and business owners for more than $7 million. EQ previously reimbursed the town of Apex more than $200,000 for its costs in responding to the fire and handling the evacuation.

The company also agreed not to reopen the facility to settle a state fine over environmental violations there.