IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Freedom Industries files for bankruptcy

The company behind last week's chemical spill in West Virginia filed for bankruptcy on Friday.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

The company behind last week's chemical spill in West Virginia filed for bankruptcy on Friday.

Freedom Industries, the company behind last week’s chemical spill in West Virginia, filed for bankruptcy on Friday.

The voluntary petition, obtained and posted by local news station WSAZ, lists $1 to $10 million in assets and $1 to $10 million in liabilities. 

The filing also describes the danger that the “personal property” owned by Freedom poses to the health and safety of the public, and acknowledges the Jan. 9 “incident” is currently under investigation by multiple agencies:

“It is presently hypothesized that a local water line break adjacent to the Charleston Facility may have or contributed to the ground beneath a storage tank at the Charleston Facility to freeze in the extraordinary frigid temperatures in the days immediately preceding the Incident. The Debtor and investigative authorities have taken note of the hole in the affected storage tank that appears to have come from an object piercing upwards through the base of the affected storage tank. Investigations by multiple agencies are ongoing with full cooperation by the Debtor.”

More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries since the company’s storage tanks leaked thousands of gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) into the Elk River, leaving as many as 300,000 residents without access to clean water for days. Local businesses and schools were forced to shut down as well.

Filing for bankruptcy would give Freedom Industries a reprieve from having to answer the lawsuits.

On Friday, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced two bills that would force the responsible parties for a chemical spill to pay for the cleanup. “Our families and businesses have suffered tremendously and have borne significant costs already. This bill corrects a glaring hole in our law that leaves residents vulnerable to shouldering the cleanup costs associated with a non-hazardous chemical spill,” Rockefeller said in a statement.