Better Late than Never: WV Governor Orders Removal of Freedom Industry Tanks

Governor Tomblin, according to a January 25, 2014 news release, has ordered Freedom Industries to begin the process of dismantling, removing and properly disposing of all of its above-ground storage tanks, as well as associated piping and machinery, at its Etowah River Terminal in Charleston, WV, by March 15, 2014.

fuel tanksLawmakers normally respond to public sentiment; this is how our representative system of government works.   When enough interested citizens and injury victims voice support for better laws, it is up to the lawmakers to respond and choose between helping the corporations make more money and helping to keep our population safe from wrongdoers and unsafe conditions.

Lawmakers thus far have not completely caved into the desires of the corporations and insurance companies, because a majority of people have voiced their outrage over corporate greed and their role in causing an increase in incidents involving serious injuries and deaths.   It takes a constant flow of information to lawmakers about injury victims’ plights, and that’s where trial lawyers and their associations are effective in protecting your rights.

One of the reasons the chemicals spilled into the Elk River was the lack of adequate secondary containment areas, which meant the only place for the chemicals to go if leaked from the tank, was into the soil and river.  This is exactly what happened on January 9, 2014, when the magnitude of this spill caused the shut down of all drinking water to nine West Virginia counties, 300,000 people, and a great number of businesses.

For the original story about the Charleston, WV Chemical Spill, see our article, “Chemical Spill Sickens Hundreds” published January, 11, 2014.

The Governor has ordered Freedom Industries to move all the contents of the remaining fourteen tanks by the Elk River to an off-site facility that provides adequate secondary containment.  All of the tanks holding the MCHM and PPH (PPH was about 7% of the chemicals leaked) chemicals are now empty, but the remaining fourteen tanks include Calcium Chloride and Glycerin.

Calcium chloride is a type of calcium salt used for many purposes, including de-icing sidewalks and acting as a stabilizer in foods.  Some dangers exist if too much calcium chloride enters the body.  If ingested, calcium chloride can cause burning pain in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting.  Another possible symptom of prolonged exposure to calcium chloride is dry and irritated skin.

Freedom Industries will also be required to provide the WVDEP with reports of the progress of this relocation of chemicals and materials.

Questions about your legal rights when you have been exposed to toxic chemicals or questions about financial losses for your business?  Call the Robinette Legal Group in Morgantown, WV today:  304-594-1800 or just click here to visit our website.

Source:, “Gov. Tomblin orders Freedom Industries to dismantle, remove, properly dispose of above ground storage tanks,” January 25, 2014.

Three Deaths in same Motel Room within Two Months from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is emerging as the most likely cause of death of an 11-year-old boy and two elderly guests in the motel room almost two months apart in Boone NC.

Boone police said emergency responders found elevated levels of the gas in the Best Western room where the young boy died on Saturday.

Police say a preliminary post mortem found the boy died from asphyxia, which happens when toxic gases cut off oxygen to the body.

The boy’s mother was rushed to hospital and survived. She is in a stable condition.

An elderly couple was found dead in the same motel room on April 16.

Police said new toxicology results show that elderly couple also died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The hotel on East King Street in Boone remains closed while investigators focus on the heating system for the pool.

The room where all three people died is above the pool.  The pool permit was suspended on March 16 after inspectors noted ventilation problems in the chemical and equipment room.  The pool had since reopened, but it could not confirm the problems had been fixed.

Duty to Protect from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning — Business and Home Owners

Unfortunately not every hotel or apartment is equipped with functional CO monitors — which means that unwary occupants are potentially exposed to this silent killer.  Hotel guests and tenants of apartments should not be required to wear personal monitors for these type of preventable exposures.  All owners of property, even home owners, should conduct annual inspections of their gas furnaces and hot water heaters that are fueled by natural gas, liquid propane gas or heating oil.  A certified heating and ventilation inspector should ensure that the furnace and water heaters are in good working order and properly vented.   Clogged chimneys and vent pipes often cause a backup of CO gas that eventually escapes to other areas of a dwelling.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal.  Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.

CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu.  The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.  In severe cases, the person may lose consciousness or die.  Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.

In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes.

West Virginia Carbon Monoxide Wrongful Death Attorneys

Hotel owners and landlords have the highest degree of responsibility to ensure that their facilities are safe for guests and tenants.  Inspections and proper maintenance of equipment and heating units and the installation and maintenance of detectors are common-sense preventative measures one would expect any building owner to have in place to prevent these senseless tragedies.

Robinette Legal Group has represented CO injury victims and the families of individuals who have died from CO exposure.  Jeff Robinette is a National Board Certified Trial Lawyer and has the experience to handle your carbon monoxide exposure case.  If you or a loved one has experienced the devastating effects of carbon monoxide poisoning , please contact us at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC for help at or (304)594-1800.