DUNBAR, WV (WOWK) – The family whose home was destroyed in an explosion and subsequent fire has filed a civil lawsuit against Mountaineer Gas Company, WV AirNet (operates under the name SecureNet) and two contractors, 3J Underground and BND Services.
“This is a typical hard working family in West Virginia, and they lost everything, as you can see, their entire life,” said Attorney Mark Staun, representing the Grubb family.
The complaint alleges the contractors struck a gas line while working in the Virginia Avenue and 16th Street area on Aug. 7. However, it said they did not report the damage immediately to Mountaineer Gas.
About three hours before the explosion, Mountaineer Gas employees arrived to resolve the problem, but the complaint said they could not find the shut-off valve until hours later.
“This was unfortunately a perfect storm of events: it was gas lines that we allege were mismarked, a contractor who came through and hit it, didn’t report it immediately, and then we have a long delay before the leak was located and the shut off,” said Staun.
The complaint cites the city of Dunbar Fire Department investigation report which said, after the explosion that gas company workers, “on scene informed Fire Chief Burger that the gas leak had not been located and natural gas was still leaking.”
Additionally, the complaint said the residents were not immediately alerted of the gas leak, and an evacuation wasn’t ordered until after the explosion.
“What’s particularly bad here is that hours and hours passed while the Grubbs sat in their house and didn’t realize there was an ongoing gas leak until their house exploded,” Staun said. “It’s problematic, and Mountaineer Gas knew about it, the contractor knew about it, and nothing was done apparently.”
This allegedly isn’t the first incident where the contractors have struck gas lines while installing fiber optic cable throughout Dunbar and South Charleston, according to the complaint.
Mountaineer Gas Company was granted a temporary restraining order against the two contractors, 3J Underground and BND Services, back in August. It prevents the contractors from working anywhere near the company’s gas lines in Kanawha County until further notice.
13 News reached out to Mountaineer Gas Company and BND Services but both declined to comment. The other defendants have not answered.