A lawyer has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Hamilton, Ontario, residents who claim they suffered injury or damage from a July 9 fire at a plastics recycling plant.
Defendants include plastics recycler Plastimet Inc., Frank Levy, who owns the building leased to Plastimet, the city of Hamilton, and Ontario's provincial Ministry of Environment, said Hamilton-based lawyer Gerald Swaye.
He did not disclose the number of people he is representing, but said the suit is open to anyone who was affected adversely by the blaze. He issued a notice of action July 16 and within 30 days will file a statement of claim.
Firefighters spent 31/2 days extinguishing the fire, which involved vinyl and polyurethane auto scrap. The blaze generated huge volumes of smoke and elevated levels of toxins, such as hydrogen chloride and benzene. About 650 nearby residents evacuated their homes for about a day because of health concerns. Although health officials said there is little long-term risk from the fire, some residents are worried about potential health problems from contaminants that may have settled on their property.
Plastimet owner Jack Lieberman said he plans to rebuild, but had no details of where and when. It has another recycling plant in Hamilton that grinds nonauto vinyl scrap, he said in a telephone interview. He had no damage estimate and although the cause of the fire has not been determined, he said ``there [had] been a history of break-ins at the site'' before Plastimet started operating there in 1995.
Plastimet said it had begun complying with outstanding fire code violations before the fire. It planned to complete a fire-department-approved action plan by mid-September, according to a statement from the law firm representing Plastimet.