CUDAHY (CBSLA) — Tensions were high at a Friday night town hall in Cudahy to address Tuesday’s Delta Air Lines fuel dump of 15,000 gallons of jet fuel that affected several south-county schools — with dozens needing to be treated for exposure.
“Kids got injured, OK, sir,” one resident said.
And though the question and answer portion of the evening was scheduled for later in the night, residents did not wait to speak up.
“What’s going to happen to the pilot,” Jessica Barragan, a Cudahy resident, said. “Because he needs to be held responsible for what you did.”
Residents focused their anger at Delta, with representative Dana Debel at the meeting receiving the brunt of their fury.
“And you did not say sorry, not once,” another resident said.
According to the airline, the plane suffered an engine issue and needed to release the fuel to reach a safe landing weight.
State and local leaders, including Rep. Maxine Waters, were at the meeting to ensure Delta and the Federal Aviation Administration were held accountable.
“I am going to insist that whatever happened in the way of cleanup and examination of the children was not enough,” she said. “And so we’ve got to do more.”
For many, concerns about future health impacts of exposure to the jet fuel were top of mind.
“Who really was affected was my little sister,” Jose Gomez, a Cudahy resident, said. “She has kidney and heart problems, and she was at the library at that time, right next to that school.”
Gomez said his sister started vomiting 30 minutes after smelling the fuel.
“Like I said, we do deeply regret what happened,” Debel said.
Earlier Friday, Gloria Allred filed a lawsuit against Delta on behalf of four teachers of one of the impacted schools — Park Avenue Elementary.
“I’m scared of what can happen to my health, the health of my students, my friends and my colleagues,” one of the teachers said at a news conference announcing the suit.
Delta and the FAA have both launched investigations into the incident, which will take weeks to complete, though the area’s air pollution regulator has already issued a violation against Delta for the fuel dump.