The widow of a utility worker who was killed in a July 2017 gas explosion in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Honeywell International and other defendants, alleging their errors claimed the life of her husband.
Richard Bouder, 54, was part of a three-worker UGI crew responding to reports of a gas odor at a house in Manor Township when a gas explosion leveled the house and rocked the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Bouder was killed in the blast and the other two workers were seriously injured.
Kim Bouder’s complaint, filed in Philadelphia County Court, includes claims of product liability against Honeywell, alleging its Permalock mechanical tapping tee allowed natural gas to leak and accumulate in explosive levels at the home.
According to WFMZ 69 News, Ms. Bouder claims the Honeywell tapping tee, a T coupling that connects the gas line to the home, was defectively designed and that Honeywell distributed and sold it without adequate warnings or installation instructions. She claims Honeywell was aware of the defect because the same tapping tee was responsible for at least two prior explosions, including one involving a fatality.
The lawsuit also names PPL Corporation, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, and Contractors Group Inc., the Wilkes-Barre company that installed the tee, as defendants. Ms. Bouder alleges that PPL is at fault for the gas explosion for not turning off the electricity in the home until after the blast, according to Penn Live.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement filed notice last month that it intends to fine utility UGI $2.1 million over the gas explosion. Authorities investigating the blast claim that the gas utility failed to properly handle the reported gas leak by shutting off the gas main to the neighborhood.