Apex, N.C. — Apex Gymnastics has settled its lawsuit over a 2006 explosion and fire at a nearby hazardous materials processing site that forced the studio to close temporarily, according to a Thursday filing in federal court in Raleigh. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. The gymnastics studio opted out of a class-action settlement against Environmental Quality Industrial Services over the Oct. 5, 2006, chemical fire.
About 17,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes because Apex officials feared toxic chemicals were in the plume of smoke that spread over the town. Businesses near the EQ plant also had to shut down for several days.
Investigators determined that improperly stored canisters caused the rapid spread of the fire throughout the facility. EQ and two Alabama-based companies that sent the canisters to the plant agreed in 2009 to pay compensation to 1,678 residents and business owners. Each household in the settlement received up to $750, while each business received up to $2,200. EQ also agreed not to reopen the facility to settle a state fine over environmental violations.