More LA Firefighters Join SoCalGas Suit

A lawsuit filed last October by 29 Los Angeles firefighters against Southern California Gas Company is in the headlines again as word that additional firefighters are continuing to sign on to the suit. The suit alleges SoCalGas knowingly exposed the firefighters to hazardous levels of toxins like benzene and formaldehyde during a leak in 2015-2016 in Aliso Canyon, but concealed the dangers.

Original suit listed 36 plaintiffs, including seven spouses of firefighters. The Los Angeles Daily News is now reporting that the suit is up to 55 firefighters and an undetermined number of spouses. The leak took nearly four months to stop and has been the basis for a mass tort suit against the utility. Of even more concern is a report by The Daily News that a Public Utilities Commission employee recently filed suit against SoCalGas alleging he developed a rare form of cancer following his exposure.

The firefighters originally claimed they suffered nosebleeds, migraine headaches, dizziness, skin rashes and breathing difficulties as a result of their assignments in the affected area. However, some are now claiming to have developed various types of cancer.

Here is a copy of the original complaint:

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About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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