Propane explosions can occur without warning, leaving innocent Missouri and Illinois victims suffering serious burn injuries or dead. One such propane explosion at a vacation cottage in another state claimed the lives of an Illinois couple, and caused their 9-year-old granddaughter significant injuries. The gas explosion and resulting fire reportedly occurred after the co-op where the cottage was located replaced the propane tank. The co-op also inspected all of the gas lines and gas appliances after replacing that tank, but a propane explosion occurred soon after the couple and their granddaughter arrived at the cottage in July, 2011.
According to reports, the three had not been at the cottage for long when the explosion took place. The force of the explosion was so severe that it caused all four of the walls to blow out. Additionally, the roof collapsed and a fire was soon ignited. The granddaughter was blasted out of the cottage’s front door. In the process, she fractured several bones and received burns to over one-quarter of her body after the fire ignited.
Her 65-year-old grandfather was also forced out of the home by the explosion, suffering several bone fractures and burns to over 90 percent of his body. Emergency workers transported him to a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, where he unfortunately died. His wife, also age 65, was blasted into the basement by the explosion. Falling debris crushed the woman, and she died in the resulting fire.
The little girl’s parents later filed a civil lawsuit in Illinois on behalf of both their daughter and the slain couple’s estate. The wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit claimed that the co-op acted negligently when replacing the propane tank and the subsequent inspection of the gas lines and appliances. According to the claims, the co-op:
- Failed to discover the existence of a defect in either the propane tank, gas lines or gas appliances;
- Did not reasonably inspect the connection between the gas line and dryer;
- Failed to safely remove the old propane tank and install the new one; and
- Did not appropriately plug the old propane tank’s gas lines before installing the new tank.
Investigators from several state and federal agencies participated in the wake of this deadly explosion and fire. Ultimately, a state fire marshal did determine that a propane explosion caused the blast and fire, but could not pinpoint exactly where the propane leak occurred. However, the insurance company for the co-op did make the decision to settle this case. They agreed to pay $3 million to the injured granddaughter, and $500,000 to each of her parents, for a total of $4 million.
While this money will not return the slain couple to life or erase their granddaughter’s injuries, it will go a long way toward alleviating this family’s financial suffering in the wake of this tragic propane explosion. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a gas explosion, please contact my St. Louis personal injury law firm today at 1-888-586-7041. This call will cost you nothing, and neither will a free initial consultation which we can schedule to discuss your case. We accept fire and explosion cases on a contingency basis, which means you will pay nothing until and unless we collect money on your behalf.
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