A Chicago gas utility worker who was injured in a natural gas explosion that leveled two townhomes in Romeoville, Ill., has filed a personal injury lawsuit against a cable company subcontractor for allegedly damaging the gas line that later exploded.
The blast occurred Oct. 11 as two employees of the Nicor gas utility company were fixing a gas leak that was reported earlier that day. One of the workers suffered minor injuries but the worker who filed the personal injury complaint was seriously injured in the blast.
The blast occurred in the suburban townhouse about 7:30 p.m. as a Nicor crew was assessing a two-inch gas line that allegedly had been punctured by cable company workers.
Jacquelyn Rodriguez Essawi, a single mother, told WLS Channel 7 Chicago that the explosion killed the family dog. “I lost everything,” she told WLS.
Ms. Essawi said she was not notified about the gas leak, telling WLS she would have gotten her dog out of the home if she had been told about the problem.
The blast caused an evacuation of several blocks surrounding the townhomes, which were completely flattened. The American Red Cross said that more than 20 people have been displaced and disaster crews helped them find a place to stay until they could return home.
A Nicor spokesperson told WLS that not much is known about the explosion at this point. “All I know is that there was some damage by a third party.”
One of the same homes that was destroyed in the blast had been destroyed by a natural gas explosion in 1999 and rebuilt. One neighbor told WLS that he was “blown off his couch” in that incident and that he hopes to move to a safer place.
“Why there were two explosions at the same house, I don’t know,” Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey told WLS. “Hopefully an investigation will determine why that was. Maybe it was a coincidence. At this point, we really don’t know.”
Source: WLS Channel 7 Chicago