Worker exposed to carbon dioxide leak at LAX has died, family says
April 5, 2013
A worker at the Los Angeles International Airport died after a hole crashed through the roof of her apartment building and she was exposed to an environmental gas leak, according to the family.
In an interview with ABC, the family’s lawyer, Marc Smerling, said the death on March 23 was not an accident. Smerling said he had been informed that the worker was working on her apartment in Los Angeles’ central district when she fell through the roof and then fell down a chimney to her apartment below.
The family is not blaming the worker or the airport or the housing regulatory agency for what happened. He said the worker’s death was “a tragedy of the worst kind.”
According to the family, the worker was in an apartment building on Krohn and Pacific avenues when a roofing contractor working for the airport’s maintenance division noticed a strange pressure increase on a portion of the roof and called the Los Angeles City Fire Department. The fire department responded and took her to a hospital, where she was declared dead. The family has accused the airport of negligence that led to her death. They say the work on her apartment was not part of normal maintenance, but the work’s presence forced her to stay in the unhealthy area. The family is suing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the airport and housing agency.
Smerling said the family is working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the airport to learn more about the work on the apartment. He said they expect to receive more information soon.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has not made a statement on the worker’s death.
“Obviously, it’s very disturbing,” airport spokesman Joe Willis said on Friday. “We take this very seriously and we’re working with the family.”
Willis said the worker’s death was not an accident, but that there was “nothing unusual” about the pressure increase she was exposed to.
In response to a question about how the worker was exposed to the gas, Willis said, “The Department of Transportation is working with her family and is helping him