Fire crews from Fairfield and surrounding agencies work to put out a massive blaze that burned stacks of containers at Macro Plastics, in 2011. Coming up on the third anniversary, there is only one lawsuit arising from the fire. (Daily Republic file)


Lawsuit over Macro Plastics fire in court

By From page A3 | July 19, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The only lawsuit to arise from the 2011 spectacular industrial fire at the Macro Plastics plant off Huntington Road was in court earlier this week.

This upcoming week marks the third anniversary of the massive six-alarm blaze that was fought by more than 100 firefighters from 15 different fire departments in the area.

The July 26, 2o11, blaze was touched off around 1 p.m. by a welder making repairs in the plant’s storage yard, where more than 15,000 commercial plastic fruit-packing bins stacked 5 to 20 feet high were being stored before harvest season.

The fire’s massive black pillar of smoke billowed almost straight up hundreds of feet into the sky above the fire, where unusually gentle afternoon winds carried the smoke over southern Vacaville. As firefighters spent hours fighting the blaze, the easterly Delta breeze carried the high, dark smoke over an area of several hundred miles with smoke seen above Stockton and Sacramento.

Shortly before 3 p.m., a shelter-in-place recommendation was given for a 1-mile radius of the blaze, asking the handful of residents living in the area to stay indoors because of the smoke.

In 2013, nearly two years after the fire, an Oakland lawyer for Fairfield resident Lois Lawson filed a lawsuit against Macro Plastics seeking $9,999, calling it “a modest claim for property damage and smoke inhalation by an asthmatic.”

Lawson’s lawsuit claims she lost wages from her job, incurred hospital bills and other medical expenses and had damaged property because of the smoke. The only property identified in the lawsuit was the paint of her car.

A judge on Wednesday slapped Lawson’s lawyer with $490 in sanctions because months have passed since the deadline when he should have provided Macro Plastic’s lawyers with copies of medical bills and medical records and any photos or other evidence supporting loss of income and any other damage caused by the smoke.

Judge Paul L. Beeman ordered the lawyers to conduct a mediation session, which he will review before their next court hearing in September.

The lawsuit is currently set for a jury trial in March 2015.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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