A house violently exploded in Whitesboro, Oneida County today, killing an elderly woman, and strewing house debris in all directions. Neighbors say they smelled gas before the explosion. State officials, and the National Grid, are investigating the cause of the explosion.
From my experience representing victims of house explosions caused by gas, including a 2005 house explosion in Oswego County that injured 9 and killed one resident, this appears to be a typical gas-fueled explosion. Gas explosions in homes are typically violent, demolishing the home and strewing debris many feet in all directions.
From a liability perspective, the gas provider, or those who installed the gas-fueled appliances, or, if the house is rented, the landlord, may be held liable for the explosion and resulting injuries or death. It all depends on what went wrong. Did the resident receive proper warnings about the smell of gas, what it meant and what to do? Was the gas-odor properly added and mixed into the gas? Where did the leak start, and how? Were the gas-fueled appliances installed correctly?
The only way to answer these questions, and thus to find the culpable party or parties, is through a thorough and early investigation by experienced experts. The evidence gets “cold” early in cases like this, so there is literally no time to waste.
Unfortunately, in many gas explosion cases, the investigation conducted by public officials proceeds without the victim’s family having any representation by a lawyer or experts hired by that lawyer. These public officials often work hand in hand with the gas supplier, landlord, or other persons that might be interested in exonerating themselves. The result is that crucial evidence that could help the victim or her family prove her case is sometimes overlooked, or worse, destroyed or hidden. That’s why a gas-explosion victim’s family should retain a New York gas explosion injury lawyer immediately.
And by the way, if you smell gas in your home, get out of the house, and get others out, immediately. And don’t light anything, turn on any switches, or even dial a phone from inside the home. The smallest spark could ignite the dangerous mix of oxygen and gas trapped in your home. Go to a neighbor’s house and from there call the utility company or whoever supplies your gas.
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