A lawsuit filed on Dec. 9, against Six Flags Splashtown, LLC adds 309 plaintiffs to the ongoing litigation alleging negligence by Hurricane Harbor Splashtown for a massive chemical leak that occurred at its Spring, Texas, location in July.
The lawsuits are centered around a chemical leak at the kiddie pool at the Hurricane Harbor Splashtown Spring location on July 17, 2021.
Based on numerous reports, a kiddie pool began to leak chemicals around 3 p.m., causing skin irritation, a burning sensation, and respiratory issues for visitors, many of them children. The park was evacuated and hazmat teams were called in to decontaminate park goers of the chemicals.
However, according to court documents, Six Flags employees did not instruct its visitors to vacate the area for approximately one hour after the chemical leak.
“In fact, near the exit, Defendant’s employees were delaying the evacuation of Plaintiffs and other customers by asking if they wanted to take part in a promotional contest before they left. This delay added to Plaintiff’s chemical exposure,” court documents say.
The Harris County Fire Marshal's office described the leak as a hypochlorite solution (10-13% liquid bleach) and 35-percent sulfuric acid. Many of the park goers were transported by ambulances to local hospitals for additional treatment, some in critical condition.
Steven Morris was at the park with his 9-year-old daughter during the incident. They were among those transported to local hospitals for treatment. He said that he noticed a harsh smell, his daughter started to vomit, and he started coughing and having issues with his eyes.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack. It felt like we got gassed,” Morris said.
Another father said he smelled a harsh smell and quickly realized something was wrong as chaos began to break out around him.
“You see the videos of the people rioting – it’s almost like that. People running everywhere – it’s chaotic,” the father said hours after the incident.
After investigating the incident, Six Flags Splashtown announced that the chemicals were leaked into the pool through a faulty water filtration system. The park said that the release occurred because a component of the water filtration system was improperly installed by a third-party service company.
The first lawsuit filed by Potts Law Firm on July 19 was on behalf of a mother and several of her children injured by the chemical leak. Since then, hundreds of lawsuits have also been filed in the Harris County District Court.
According to attorney Derek Potts, many of the victims of the spill, including a number of children, continue to have respiratory issues and are receiving ongoing medical treatment. The spill involved high concentrations of hypochlorite and sulfuric acid, at what is being described as at the toxicity level of battery acid. Potts says that it's expected that continued medical monitoring will be required due to associated cancer risks.
“The long-term health and wellbeing of hundreds of people were compromised by a series of tragic and avoidable mistakes on the part of Splashtown, its contractors and employees,” Potts said. “We now believe the evidence shows that the swimming pool's pumps were incorrectly installed, inspected, repaired, and maintained, and that these defects were known to those responsible. This is a blatant and unconscionable disregard for the safety of Splashtown's guests.”
Six Flags Splashtown, Spring Texas.