Napa workers seek US$300 million over Glass Fire clean-up
A group of waste workers are claiming compensation after allegedly being exposed to toxic chemicals in the immediate aftermath of the Glass Fire, which ripped through Napa in 2020.
A landfill crew which cleaned up the devastation caused by California’s Glass Fire are seeking millions in compensation, claiming they were sent in without the right safety equipment or training.
The complainants are pushing for US$300 million from Clover Flat Landfill and Upper Valley Disposal Services, according to a filing sent to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“We didn’t have experience at all with these situations,” said Jose Garibay Jr., one of the complainants. “We didn’t have protocol for what happens in a fire, what happens in an emergency. We had no training whatsoever. But they did send us right after the fire to clean up the mess before officials showed up.”
He told FOX Business: “We were exposed to the gas methane escaping from the landfill, and leachate water (contaminated liquid generated from water percolating through a solid waste disposal site).
“We were not supposed to be out there right after the fire, and the company took advantage of that because we were not experienced.”
Garibay claims that his 15-man crew worked 12-hour days with no training on how to handle hazardous material and no equipment other than N95 respirator masks.
Some Napa residents, including the former mayor of St Helena, have warned for years that the landfill, which sits at the top of a hill, could pollute water and agricultural land in the valley below — as well as trigger health issues for people breathing in air after wildfires.
The drainage coming out of the landfill cuts directly through a mile of vineyards.
The complainants are calling for the landfill’s former management to be investigated. They also want testing to be carried out for toxic materials downhill from the landfill, believing laws may have been broken.