The families of the man and woman killed in a furniture store explosion in Wayne, Mich. have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Consumers Energy. In the suit, filed in state court, it was alleged that Consumers Energy, supplier of gas to the furniture store and surrounding neighborhood, was negligent in not evacuating the area after residents complained of a gas smell. Evacuations began after the blast. It was alleged Consumers Energy violated a section of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s Michigan Gas Safety Standards reading, “If the investigation reveals a hazardous situation, then the operator shall take immediate action to evacuate, repair or isolate the facilities involved to reduce any danger to the public.”
Consumers Energy received two calls on December 29th, the first at 6:40 and the last at 7:40 a.m. The technician was still in the area when the furniture store exploded at 9 a.m., trapping the store’s owner, and killing two of his employees. The owner was injured, but survived and at press time he was in fair condition in a hospital burn center.
I understand that the gas leak, which was located near the store, was at a pipe coupling, and that the gas likely seeped into a nearby sewer main that serviced the furniture showroom. The piece of pipe is at a testing lab, according to Consumers Energy. Stuart Sklar represents both the Zell and Machniak families.
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