ZDR Successfully Mediates Illinois Gas Explosion Case

Home Gas Explosion

ZDR recently helped a family resolve their claims against an Illinois propane provider who failed to follow its own protocols, resulting in a preventable explosion at a woman’s home.

An Illinois woman who lived alone was going through propane gas very quickly. About a year before the explosion, in June 2015, her tank was filled by a propane provider. Just two months later, in the middle of summer, the propane company returned and gave her a full fill, when she should have been using almost no gas because of limited gas-powered appliances and the summer heat. Experts told us this was a sign of a leak. However, the propane company did not investigate a leak at that time.

In August 2016, the propane company came out once again because the propane tank was empty. On the day in question, the propane company employees who filled the tank tested the lines outside of the house for leaks, but they did not go inside the house. The woman was not home when they arrived, and the employees did not enter the house to check interior gas lines or to light pilot lights.

The propane company had policies in place to be implemented if their employees found an empty propane tank, because an empty propane tank could be a sign of a leak. The policies were meant to protect their customers from dangerous gas explosions. One requirement was that a homeowner had to be present at the house when the tank was being filled. The policy also required that a gas company employee light the pilot lights of appliances inside the house, which could help identify a gas leak related to a specific appliance.

A few days after the tank was filled for the final time, her pilot lights still not lit, the woman called a neighbor over to help her light the pilot light of the water heater in her basement. The ensuing explosion was heard from miles away. Devastatingly, both the woman and her neighbor died in the explosion and fire.

ZDR helped the woman’s family sue the Illinois propane provider for failing to fulfill their duties to the woman, including failing to check for a gas leak inside the house despite clear signs that her gas usage was abnormal. If the Illinois propane providers had followed their own protocols and lit the pilot light themselves, this tragic accident would not have happened.

While no lawsuit can bring back a loved one, the woman’s family members were comforted knowing they held the propane company accountable for their negligence.

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