The First of Many Lawsuits Filed Against Columbia Gas and Parent Company NISource

What happened on September 14, 2018 was an avoidable tragedy that. 8,600 people were affected by the gas explosions, with 25 injured, and one fatality. A complaint was filed by a resident of Lawrence named Francely Acosta, who was one of the 8,600 residents affected by the explosions. Acosta accused NiSource of “negligence and creating a public nuisance by failing to maintain gas pressure in its “antiquated” system, which she blamed for Thursday’s explosions” in her complaint.

Potential causes of the explosions identified by The Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, who in their report noted “that the pressure in the Columbia Gas system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI — twelve times higher than the system was intended to hold,” their report. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are looking for more information as to what Columbia Gas did to respond to this report.

Injury in explosion Abnormality in pressure was registered in a company-run control room in Columbus, Ohio, the National Transportation Safety Board told the U.S. Senators, who are now demanding a timeline of events from the moments the surge was recorded. Columbia Gas’s deadline to respond to the Senates request for a timeline and inquiries was September 19, 2018.

Senators want a timeline as to why there was a delay in Columbia Gas acknowledging the event, along with assurance that everything is being done to prevent further complications. The lawsuit takes aim some of these issues, including that the company failed to implement reasonable safety and leak prevention practices and failed to replace and update obsolete and known high risk materials within the system. The pipelines were made of wrought iron rather than plastic.

An estimated 650 pipeline incidents last year caused 20 fatalities and 35 injuries, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. This year pipeline incidents have caused at least three deaths and 33 injuries. Whether or not this is a concerning forward trend has yet to be determined. If you or someone you know has been subjected to this disastrous situation or a similar event, it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side. Plymouth County injury lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has spent many years effectively representing persons who have been seriously injured. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.