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Explosion Blows Roof|off Family Home

DALLAS (CN) - A natural gas leak caused a huge explosion that "lifted the entire roof" off a home and seriously injured an 8-year-old girl during the Christmas holidays, a Texas family claims in court.

Christana Reinoshek, of Wise County, and Marvin Reinoshek Jr. and Nancy Reinoshek, both of North Richland Hills, sued Atmos Energy Corp. in Dallas County Court.

They say they were in Marvin and Nancy Reinoshek's home with four children on Dec. 21, 2013, when a massive explosion and fire occurred when Christana Reinoshek's daughter, Maya Javier, turned on a light switch in a bathroom. Javier was seriously injured in the blast.

"The magnitude of the explosion lifted the entire roof, tore out walls inside the home and shattered windows," the complaint states. "The Reinoshek home and most of its contents were destroyed and/or damaged."

The Reinosheks claim investigation revealed the explosion was caused by natural gas emanating from a defective weld in an underground polyethylene pipe that is owned and maintained by Atmos.

"The transportation of natural gas by pipeline has long been recognized as a hazardous activity that requires a high degree of care from the operator of the natural gas distribution system," the complaint states.

"Atmos Energy Corporation's breach of those duties consisted of its failure to properly install, inspect, maintain, discover, repair and replace its natural gas lines servicing the Reinoshek home and its failure to properly train and supervise its personnel, employees, and contractors to properly install, inspect, repair and replace the natural gas lines servicing the Reinoshek home."

The Reinosheks claim that Atmos violated federal guidelines when it failed to properly join the butt joint of the pipe, failed to perform appropriate leak tests on the pipe and failed to implement procedures for continued surveillance for leaks.

Jennifer Altieri, Atmos' director of media relations, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.

The Reinosheks seek actual damages for negligence.

They are represented by Mark Anderson in Fort Worth.

Follow @davejourno
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