For a week after the blaze, residents of communities along the waterway had no information about the source of the odor, the lawsuit says. Local officials speculated about the cause of the fire. In early October, Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes of Carson said that the gas was from a “leaking pipeline.”
Monique Alvarez, 40, a plaintiff in the lawsuit who lives a “30-second jog” from the channel, said in an interview on Sunday that “no one was really helping” or “providing tangible resources.”
“We didn’t really have answers at the time,” Ms. Alvarez said, adding that her three children broke out in welts and woke up struggling to breathe.
“One day living in this environment felt like an eternity,” she said.
A week after the fire, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared that it had found “very low levels of hydrogen sulfide” in the air. Two days later, the department said the odors were “sufficiently pervasive” and urged residents to get air filters, shut their windows and doors, and keep their pets indoors.
At one point, members of about 3,400 households were staying in hotel rooms paid for by Los Angeles County, said Kerjon Lee, a spokesman for the Department of Public Works, adding that the county also provided 40,000 air purifiers.
These efforts and the emergency work to mitigate the odor from the channel had cost the county $54 million as of last week, Mr. Lee said.
The warehouse is owned by Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and its parent company, Prologis Inc., according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Two other companies, Virgin Scent and Day to Day Imports, were storing wellness and beauty products there at the time of the fire, the air quality district said.
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