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Families Sue Over 2012 Blast Which Leveled Home

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Two families are suing two Connecticut utilities alleging negligence in connection with a 2012 natural gas explosion that leveled one New Haven home and damaged another.

The Santos family smelled gas and got out of its house on Howard Avenue shortly before the explosion on a Saturday morning in March 2012. Everyone survived. They and their neighbors, the Ortiz family, are now suing The United Illuminating Co. and Southern Connecticut Gas Co. in Superior Court, the New Haven Register reported.

The lawsuit alleges United Illuminating fixed a downed power line on Howard Avenue and the two companies failed to secure the area and check for gas leaks before turning the power back on. When the power was restored, the furnace in the Santos’ basement turned on and ignited gas that had built up from a leak, fire officials said.

The families allege the companies knew or should have known that it was not safe to turn the power back on.

Both companies are owned by New Haven-based UIL Holdings Corp. UI spokesman Michael West said the company is reviewing the lawsuit and that he could not comment on pending litigation.

The families’ attorney, Alphonse Balzano, said the blast was similar to the gas explosion in New York City on Wednesday that brought down two apartment buildings and killed at least eight people.

“Their house was basically there one minute and gone the next,” Balzano said of the Santos family. “This is a family that put all their hard work, their blood and sweat into that house. All their dreams and aspirations were gone in a second.”

The lawsuit says members of the families continue to suffer physical and psychological problems related to the explosion.
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Information from: New Haven Register, http://www.nhregister.com

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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