Twenty-nine Los Angeles firefighters who helped Porter Ranch residents after a well blew out in October 2015, resulting in the largest methane leak in U.S. history, filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas Co. on Monday, saying the utility consciously exposed them to hazardous levels of toxins.
The 56-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, says exposure to materials such as benzene and formaldehyde — known carcinogens — has caused firefighters to suffer from severe headaches, nosebleeds, skin rashes, dizziness and breathing difficulties. Some firefighters also are battling cancer, according to the complaint.
“SoCalGas chose to lie to us, mislead us and put us in harm’s way without giving us the chance to warn others,” Daniel Mehterian, a recently retired firefighter who is part of the lawsuit, said in a prepared statement. “They robbed us of the chance to help save lives further, and instead chose to hide the truth and cover their own butts.”
Southern California Gas Co. said in a statement Tuesday it is aware of the lawsuit but has not been served with the complaint and “have not yet had the opportunity to review it.”
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