Premises Liability Lawsuits Filed After Florida Gas Explosion
Most people have never been victims of explosions unless they fought in a war. However, many Florida residents were injured in an explosion, and they weren’t even military members. They were ordinary civilians, going about their day, when a gas valve was left open in an abandoned pizza place. This caused a massive explosion that caused debris to fly several hundred feet. Twenty-three people were injured in the incident and they are now filing premises liability claims against the liable parties.
The explosion occurred on the morning of July 6, 2019, at a shopping center in Plantation, Florida. A man was exercising with his wife at LA Fitness when the building started shaking and the glass broke, like an earthquake was happening. Then ceiling tiles started to fall and the man tried to act as a shield to protect his wife. Fortunately, they were able to walk out of the building with minor injuries. One man was walking to his car when the explosion occurred. He suffered the most severe injuries—major injuries to his ankle and hand. Fortunately, nobody was killed.
So how did the explosion occur? It was unknown at first, but investigators gathered information from dash cam footage, video from a drone, witness statements and a report from the Florida’s Bureau of Fire and Arson and Explosives Investigations. It was determined that a gas valve was left open in PizzaFire, a pizza restaurant that was abandoned for several months after going out of business. In addition, the air conditioning had been left on, so the explosion started when the thermostat clicked on. Someone turned on the gas line, causing an explosion similar to a bomb.
The lawsuits allege that the explosion would not have occurred if a valve behind the building had been locked, or if the gas pipe had the appropriate cap on. Nobody knows who turned on the valve or why it happened. The cap would have cost just a few dollars.
One thing is for certain: the fact that it happened is considered gross negligence. Lawyers believe that their plaintiffs will be able to receive punitive damages. This is based on the fact that, for a period of seven months—from December to July—the landlords did not check the condition of the gas line. They did not put a cap on it or call a plumber, as a reasonable person would have done.
The defendants involved in the lawsuits include the landlord, Locust Gardens (E&A) LLC, as well as property manager Edens Limited Partnership and utility providers Tampa Electric Co., Peoples Gas System and Best Buy Auctioneers.com Inc.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Personal Injury Case
Premises liability cases can be serious in nature. A property owner’s negligence or reckless behavior can cause a person to suffer broken bones, head trauma, back and neck injuries and even death.
Were you injured on someone else’s property? If so, contact the Tampa premises liability attorneys at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group to see if you have a valid case. You may be able to receive compensation for your damages. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (813) 803-6518.