Judge approves settlement in Apex evacuation

Staff WriterOctober 6, 2009 

RALEIGH -- A federal judge has given his final approval to a settlement that will compensate residents and businesses evacuated after the explosion at a hazardous waste warehouse in Apex three years ago.

Under the settlement, EQ Industrial Services and two other companies will pay up to $7.85 million to settle the class-action suit. They agree to pay $750 to each household that evacuated following the explosion and up to $2,200 to each business that was forced to close.

Households and business owners have until Oct. 20 to file a claim. Claims forms were mailed to each address in the evacuation zones and are available at www.apexfiresettlement.com.

As many as 15,000 residents were forced or encouraged to leave their homes after the EQ warehouse exploded on the night of Oct. 5, 2006. The inferno sent fireballs into the air and a pungent cloud of smoke and chemicals through nearby neighborhoods.

The settlement includes $2.9 million in plaintiffsÂ’ attorneys fees and another $322,000 in expenses. The town could receive up to $85,000 for equipment and training.

U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt approved a preliminary version of the settlement in July and gave his final blessing this morning after a hearing. No one objected to the settlement at the hearing.

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