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$17 Million Explosion Settlement

$17 Million Explosion Settlement

Attorneys Susan and Todd Petersen recently obtained a $17 million settlement for the death of an 87 year old man and his surviving 89 year old wife who were victims of a natural gas home explosion and fire on day five of trial.


If someone you love was injured or killed in an explosion, contact our law firm NOW and request a free consultation.

Attorneys Susan and Todd Petersen can help you. Use our free consultation submission form to contact Petersen & Petersen about a lawsuit regarding an explosion and/or fire. We are not paid unless we successfully pursue recovery.

Attorneys Susan and Todd Petersen recently obtained a $17 million settlement for the death of an 87 year old man and his surviving 89 year old wife who were victims of a natural gas home explosion and fire on day five of trial.

At the time of the home explosion, the elderly couple was sitting at their kitchen table. With a giant “boom” and rush of air blowing out all the windows, the 89 year-old wife grabbed her husband to exit through the back kitchen door. As she passed by the basement steps, she could feel the heat coming up. She exited through the garage safely, only to realize that her 87 year-old husband did not. He had decided to exit through the front door, but was trapped inside. Within a minute, the entire house was engulfed in flames. First responders performed a search and rescue and found him in the bathtub still alive. He was taken to the hospital but died one hour after the explosion from smoke inhalation. He had second degree burns all over his body. He left behind his widow and four adult children.

Two and a half months before, the couple had purchased an electric dryer from a retailer. As part of the purchase price , they paid for removal and haul away of their existing gas dryer. Explosion investigators discovered that the gas line in the basement, which sat directly behind the new dryer had been left uncapped and the valve to the line was found partially open. Capping of unused gas lines is required by law in Ohio, not to mention being the most basic of appliance installation rules.

Through sworn depositions and via discovery of internal documents, the Petersens uncovered evidence that the retailer had cut expenses in its delivery systems, forcing delivery subcontractors to do more with less. The retailer knew quite well what this belt-tightening had led to, i.e. low-paying jobs that they had trouble filling with qualified candidates. Instead, they accepted the practice of taking who they can get and then not training them on the safety protocols and procedures, including those safety rules which relate to working with natural gas. The Petersen legal team uncovered evidence that indeed the delivery team at issue was untrained and unqualified. More egregious was the fact that they were not the only unqualified team being sent into the homes of trusting and unsuspecting customers. Publically available criminal dockets and internal company files showed a pattern of criminal after criminal wearing the retailer’s uniform and working deliveries.

The Petersen law firm investigation revealed that the retailer, in its contracts with delivery contractors/operators, required background checks – theoretically. However, they ultimately learned in terms of their clients’ delivery, the subcontractors let the delivery man start working before the results ever came back. Later, the results of his background check actually came back and they rejected him on paper, but still let him work. After the driver had already worked for months (including the job at issue), the company finally fired him. Amazingly, the company let him return several months later, under a fake name. At the time of trial, the delivery man was incarcerated on multiple unrelated criminal convictions.

Sworn deposition testimony taken by the Petersens revealed that when the retailer was considering hiring the subcontractor delivery company, it knew that this very same company had already used unqualified workers with severe criminal records in its other markets, but hired them anyway. The Petersen firm alleged that all of the entities in the chain of delivery were responsible for the tragic home explosion and resulting death and injuries to the widow and this entire family. The lawsuit included claims for negligent removal of the gas appliance, negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention, and punitive damages.

“In an explosion case, we work quickly and closely with a team of experienced engineers and fire investigators to determine the actual cause of the explosion and to preserve all necessary evidence” said Susan Petersen.

“In doing so, we have successfully provided the foundation to proving failure to comply with safety rules. In this recent case, our experts helped us to understand and ultimately prove how this tragic injury occurred including the complex migration patterns of natural gas and a phenomenon known as olfactory fatigue, desensitization to a distinctive odor due to prolonged exposure.” “You can be assured that the Petersen legal team knows how to effectively handle deadly home explosion cases and will work diligently to leave no stone unturned in the course of litigation. We will do everything we can to uncover the entire story” said Todd Petersen
Natural gas is a source of energy so often used in our homes safely. Tragically however, natural gas can be the source of catastrophic and deadly explosions and fires. Such explosions can occur inside the home due to improper installation, uncapped lines, defective controls or valves, leaking hoses, gas lines, or tanks, or negligent maintenance. 

If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a natural gas explosion or resulting fire, an investigation must be conducted in a prompt and careful manner. You must determine what caused the explosion and who is responsible. To ensure the right steps are taken, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away. Petersen & Petersen has experience in preserving evidence and analyzing explosions. 

Our attorneys have successfully represented individuals and their families injured and killed in explosions. The firm recently obtained a $17 Million settlement for the victims in a natural gas explosion death case on day five of trial. For assistance you can trust, contact us right away. 

What to Do If You Suspect a Gas Leak 

If you suspect a gas leak in your home, you should vacate your home immediately, call 9-1-1 and contact your utilities company for help. Do not use your cell phone. Do not turn on any light switches or light any matches. Do not turn on or off any electrical appliances or try to locate the leak. The main sign of a natural gas leak is a foul smell, similar to that of a rotten egg. The biggest hazard of a leak is an explosion, and the best thing you can do is get out the house and call for help from a distance. Contact an Ohio Natural Gas Explosion Attorney. 

To speak with an attorney who has experience handling gas explosion litigation in Ohio, contact Petersen & Petersen today.
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