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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Gas Company Blamed for Houston Explosion

HOUSTON (CN) - A New Year's Eve gas line explosion gave a 3-year-old boy "burns so horrific, his fingers on his hands had to be amputated," his father says in a complaint against CenterPoint Energy.

Giovanni Rodriguez Regalado sued the company on behalf of his son Giovanni, in Harris County Court.

"The doctors have projected Giovanni will require at least 10 different surgeries," his father says.

The father blames the explosion and house fire on CenterPoint's gross negligence.

The explosion and fire came in the early morning of Dec. 31, 2011 at a relative's home, and injured six people, including a 1-month-old child, according KPRC News in Houston.

KPRC said the explosion flung glass more than 30 feet away from the home.

"Houston firefighters say a gas line explosion may have caused the blaze. A spokesperson for CenterPoint says they are conducting an investigation but haven't tied the fire to a gas leak yet," KPRC's Irika Sargent reported from the scene.

In his complaint, Rodriguez says his son was sleeping upstairs when the explosion hit.

"As a result of the explosion and resulting fire, Giovanni suffered extensive burns on 45 percent of his young body, including his face, arms, hands, legs and buttocks. These burns are so horrific, his fingers on his hands had to be amputated. The doctors have projected Giovanni will require at least 10 different surgeries. Giovanni continues to undergo medical treatment," according to the complaint.

Though CenterPoint told KPRC it has not linked the fire to a gas leak, Rodriguez says CenterPoint had the gas shut off to the home before the explosion happened. He blames CenterPoint.

"Giovanni's injuries from this explosion and resulting fire were proximately caused by the negligence and gross negligence of defendant in failing to enact and enforce appropriate maintenance and/or safety rules, regulations and practices that would have prevented said explosions and fire," the complaint states.

Rodriguez seeks damages for his son's injuries, and a temporary restraining order to stop CenterPoint from destroying or altering any evidence.

Rodriguez is represented by Robert Ammons.

Family members told KPRC that four of the six victims "are expected to be OK" but that Giovanni's mother suffered burns on more than 50 percent of her body.

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