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October 20, 2021 | Gary Burger

Exploding House Case Result

Our attorney, Michael, got to sit down with our client Kelvin to discuss his experience working with Burger Law. Kelvin and Joyce were in their home when the house next door suddenly exploded. The force from the explosion forced Joyce against a wall and jolted Kelvin from a couch to the floor, causing bodily injury and damage to the Plaintiffs' home.

The exploded house was owned by a rental property and had been uninhabited for more than a month, as the previous tenants had moved out before the explosion. An arson investigator determined that the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak triggered by someone removing copper pipes connected to a water heater in the home.

The arson investigator also reported that other pipes leading to and from the water heater and the main water supply valve had been removed.

Our theory of liability was that Defendant's rental home company was negligent because they failed to turn the gas off in an uninhabited home and failed to properly secure the house to prevent an intruder from breaking in and stealing the copper pipes.

This was a tough case on liability because rental properties need to keep the heat turned on in the winter, or damage can occur to the property. Also, we had no direct evidence of someone breaking into the home and stealing the copper pipes.

A criminal act such as burglary can be considered a superseding intervening cause that cuts off liability to the rental property. Ultimately, we could get a good settlement for the Plaintiffs after filing suit but before the written discovery was complete.