A major Gas Co. could have prevented the death of a 20-year-old woman, one of eight people who died in the inferno from the gas pipeline explosion, according to a lawsuit filed by the woman’s parents. The wrongful-death lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for negligence and “ultra-hazardous activity” by the gas company. The lawsuit points to “a long list of incidents and safety lapses,” and criticizes the utility for its “sluggish” response to the incident.
“The gas company had knowledge of this pipeline’s defective condition but put profits ahead of public safety,” the attorney said in a statement. “No one should have lost loved ones or suffered injuries or damage to their homes.” The lawsuit claims that the pipeline was over-pressurized at the time of the explosion and that the company failed to maintain or properly inspect the pipe or install automatic or remote shutoff valves.
On the night of the explosion,the victim was visiting her boyfriend to watch a football game when the 30-inch natural gas pipeline exploded at about 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 9 and flames rushed into the house. Terrified, she “ran for her life towards the back yard but was unable to escape the flames, according to the lawsuit.The boyfriend was severely burned while trying to rescue her. The victim’s body was found the next day. The Gas company spokesman declined to comment directly on the lawsuit; except to say that “…,obviously, our hearts go out to the family and we respect their right to file a lawsuit and we will work with them to address their concerns.” The victim’s family is the latest of more than 50 families to sue the utility after the disaster, which injured at least 50 and destroyed 38 homes.