Lawsuit Filed over Exploding House in Cleveland

The Cleveland Plain Dealer in Ohio reports that a lawsuit has been filed over an exploding house!

The lawsuit alleges that the Dominion East Ohio Gas Company and an investment company are to blame for the explosion of a Cleveland house a January 25. The explosion caused damage to 57 buildings.

Investigators have not yet announced the cause of the explosion, but the lawsuit, which was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, alleges that Dominion and California-based EZ Access Funding are responsible.

According to the lawsuit filed by attorney Scott Kalish, EZ Access failed to maintain the house on West 83rd Street, which had been vacant since last summer. Further, Dominion failed to make sure that the gas was shut off, even though residents in the neighborhood had complained of an odor of gas four days before the explosion.

Gerald Walton, attorney for EZ Access, said, “They were totally unaware that there were any utilities to that house. They never authorized or requested that any utilities were turned on.”

Kalish represents three homeowners whose houses were damaged by the blast as well as a dozen other people who rent homes in the area. Kalish said that approximately 60 property owners and 80 renters were affected by the explosion. At least four people received minor injuries.

One resident represented by Kalish is Terry Calderwood, whose home was damaged so badly that it had to be demolished. Kalish told reporters, “She’s essentially homeless now.”

The Cleveland attorney hopes that the lawsuit will be certified as a class action lawsuit since it affected so many people.

What a bizarre news story! I find it hard to believe that the gas company did not respond to reports about the odor of gas. The number one natural gas safety tip from safegas.org is: “SMELL GAS? ACT FAST! If you smell gas RIGHT NOW—don't touch or turn off your computer—leave the area! After you go someplace away from the odor, call your natural gas provider. If you don't know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.”

Other tips from the gas safety website include:

Don’t ever let small children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes, even the knobs on the oven or cooktop.

Don’t use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home, under any circumstances).

Don’t move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.

Don’t use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.

Don’t install a gas appliance yourself, unless you area a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.

Don’t ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.

Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.

Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.

Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.

Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.

Use your nose. If you ever detect even a small amount of the odor of natural gas in the air, don’t stay—get away. Then, contact your natural gas provider. If you don’t know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.