Grand Prairie

Neighbors Sue Over 2020 Grand Prairie Plastic Plant Fire

Neighbors claim company negligence and lasting health consequences from exposure to toxic smoke

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Neighbors of a tremendous Grand Prairie plastics plant fire two years ago are suing the company claiming negligence that left them with lasting health problems.

Fire officials at the time said the August 19, 2020 fire at the Poly America plant started with an explosion. The fire burned for 23 hours before firefighters from several cities put it out.

Billowing thick black smoke could be seen for miles around.

Neighbor Stacey Mims said he drove through the smoke on his way home that morning.

“It was coming through the vents and then when I got to my residence, you could see the filaments and the debris, little flakes, coming down and you could smell the chemicals,” he said.

Two of the 39 plaintiffs in a new lawsuit against the company spoke about it with one of their lawyers Thursday.

Amber Rodriguez said she fled from her home about a mile from the site with her young son that morning.

“We woke up to the smoke inside our apartment and we had to literally run away. My son was a year old and we were coughing,” she said.

Dallas Attorney Jennifer Kinder is one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit for the neighbors.

“We know everyone has respiratory issues, long-term respiratory issues,” she said.

The $7.8 million lawsuit seeks $200,000 in damages for each of the 39 plaintiffs.

“And there's a variety of issues that they're having. Headaches, fatigue,” Kinder said.  

The plant on Marshall Drive in Grand Prairie handles polyethylene and petroleum-based products.   

The Poly America website says the company makes Husky brand trash bags and other plastic products.

Amber Rodriguez said she is angry that the company has done nothing for neighbors since the fire and she hopes the lawsuit brings action.

“Apologies; they need accountability for what happened,” Rodriguez said.

Shortly after the fire, electric provider Oncor issued a statement saying its investigation concluded that transmission lines through the site were intact and not to blame for what happened.

Kinder said the court action will seek information about the actual cause.

Voice mail and email messages seeking comment from Poly America Thursday were not returned.

Your Photos: Massive Fire at Grand Prairie Plastics Plant

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