Residents Blast Utility Over Gas Explosion

     (CN) – A utility’s failure to properly maintain a major gas line near an apartment complex in Birmingham, Ala., led to a violent explosion that killed one person and destroyed a residential building, residents of the complex claim in court.
     Aza Ames, along with 24 other residents from the Marks Village Apartments, sued the Alabama Gas Corporation (Alagasco) and the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.
     According to their complaint, the explosion, which occurred in December of 2013, was the result of a natural gas leak.
     The homes of the plaintiffs were located “in close proximity” to the explosion and were each impacted by the incident.
     “In addition, each of the plaintiffs was within the zone of danger created by the concussive force of the explosion such that each of the plaintiffs was physically impacted by the explosion and suffered emotional injuries and distress as a result of the explosion,” the complaint says.
     According to the complaint, Alagasco, as the natural gas provider for the area, was responsible for “the maintenance and safety of natural gas distribution lines and equipment in the area.”
     The residents also contend that Alagasco should have known about the leak based on “numerous complaints of natural gas leaks in the Gate City area,” which is where the apartment complex is located.
     The lawsuit claims the defendants acted with negligence or wantonness by failing to properly respond to the various leak complaints.
     Alagasco, specifically, is accused of failing to “adequately investigate reports of natural gas leaks in the Gate City area, including but not limited to leaks in natural gas distribution lines and equipment in and around the Marks Village Apartments.”
     It also failed to properly warn the public of the potential danger the leaks presented.
     The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District also failed to “inspect, warn, and/or make safe” the problems at the apartment complex, the complaint says.
     One resident of the complex, Tyrennis Mabry, was killed in the incident.
     Plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They’re represented by John Haley of Birmingham.

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