Dan Church Died In Alma / Bolivar House Explosion Accident Involving Natural Gas At Home On Route 18
ALLEGANY COUNTY, NEW YORK (October 5, 2021) – A man identified as Dan Church has tragically died in a natural gas explosion accident at his home on Route 18.
Alma police officials are saying that the accident took place around 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, October 2nd. Dan Michael Church, 71, was inside of his home when there was a sudden explosion.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the explosion in order to help the victim. Despite life-saving measures, Dan Church could not be saved after the accident.
Allegany County authorities believe that the explosion may have been caused by a natural gas leak under the crawl space of the home. Dan Church was described as a “kind and caring man” who was always there for those in need. He served for 18 years on the Bolivar-Richburg Board of Education.
A full investigation into the Alma natural gas explosion that killed Dan Michael Church remains ongoing.
Liability In Allegany County Natural Gas Explosion Accidents
An average of 4,200 home fires per year are started by the ignition of natural gas. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the fires that result from these explosions leave 40 people dead annually. The NFPA report goes on to state, “In some cases, problems had been reported and the utility was investigating before an explosion. In others, consumers had smelled gas but not reported it. In some cases, there were problems with the pipe installation. In others, pipes had been damaged.” In all, there are many different potential causes of a natural gas explosion.
- Appliances including gas furnaces and stoves may not have their gas lines properly hooked up.
- Worn or rusting lines from the street could leak natural gas and trigger an explosion.
- Defective equipment including gas grills and acetylene torches could cause a gas explosion.
There are numerous potential sources of liability for any natural gas explosion. Liability will depend entirely on the unique facts of what caused or contributed to an accident. In many instances a product manufacturer could be liable for a gas explosion. Companies have a legal obligation to create products that are reasonably safe. Failure to do this could result in liability for an accident. For example, an underground propane gas tank with a design defect could leak natural gas. Any ignition source such as an open flame could then trigger an explosion.
A New York natural gas company could also potentially be liable for a gas explosion through a premises liability claim. All property owners in New York must take measures to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. This has to be done on behalf of all persons whose presence on a property is reasonably foreseeable. (See, e.g., Basso v. Miller, 40 N.Y.2d 233 (1976)) Gas companies must maintain their lines and do preventative maintenance to avoid potential leaks. When a property owner has actual knowledge or constructive notice of a defect with their property they must take action to remedy this defect.
Consider, for example, the case of Guidarelli v. City of Schenectady. As noted in the court’s opinion, the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care in “maintaining and repairing its water mains so as to avoid injury to abutting property owners and the public generally […] defendant will be held liable in negligence if the evidence demonstrates that, upon receiving notice of the water main break, it failed to “make reasonable efforts to inspect and repair the defect.” ( De Witt Props. v. City of New York) There are a number of steps that should be taken after any gas explosion accident.
- Victims should seek medical care as soon as possible.
- A thorough investigation into the potential source of the gas leak should be conducted.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Appliances should be examined for defects.
The family of any victim that died in a natural gas explosion may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim can help with some of the unexpected costs associated with the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. In order to win a civil claim plaintiffs will typically have to demonstrate negligence. But government agencies and gas companies will often fight hard to deny liability for any accident. A wrongful death attorney can examine the unique facts of your case and get to the bottom of what caused an explosion.
Investigating An Allegany County Natural Gas Explosion Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Dan Michael Church. Any person that may have information about the incident should reach out to investigators. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened so that similar tragedies can be prevented.
This accident also raises a number of important safety questions. What was the source of this natural gas explosion? Are steps being taken to prevent similar accidents? Are gas lines in the area being adequately maintained? Many natural gas explosions can be prevented when gas lines are maintained and safety procedures are being properly followed.