RICHMOND (KCBS) – Hundreds of people have visited Richmond-area hospitals this week, seeking medical help after Monday’s fire at the Chevron refinery. Now, many are looking to file suit against the company for compensation.

They started lining up at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday outside the Richmond office of attorney Nicholas Haney, each with a different story.

“When I went to the hospital, my chest was hurting really badly and I couldn’t breathe,” said one woman in line. “Right when I got home, I could smell the gas in my house and after an hour of being at home, my chest started hurting really, really bad so I had to go to the emergency room.”

Over a thousand people have shown up outside the office over the last two days, hoping Haney will represent them in a legal claim against Chevron.

“All day yesterday, I had people in, talking about how it affected their kids, it affected their pets and their families,” said Haney. “So this is serious.”

Haney said these lawsuits are not unprecedented as a 1993 suit against Richmond’s General Chemical following a chemical leak resulted in an almost $200 million settlement.

“This is very traumatic for people. People live here and they get sick because of their neighbor Chevron,” he said. “It’s not just physical illnesses, there is some psychological damage as well.”

The hard part for Haney now is to weed out what appear to be legitimate medical cases versus people who just had a sore throat or cough.


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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