The apartment explosion and fire that killed seven residents last month in Silver Spring, Maryland has now triggered a lawsuit by residents. The announcement of the lawsuit filing was made by an organization that advocates for the victims and two law firms. The parties did not announce who they will sue, but it is likely the apartment owners, management, and the local gas utility could be sued as potentially responsible parties.
GAS ODOR PRESENT BEFORE APARTMENT EXPLOSION
Some witnesses claim there was a gas odor present near the building prior to the explosion, and the fire department had been called on at least one occasion near the end of July, which was confirmed by the Montgomery County acting fire chief. While a gas leak of some type has been suspected, possibly coming from the meter room in the apartment, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the explosion.
The NTSB is the federal agency responsible for investigating explosions and fires caused by pipelines.
NTSB investigations typically are exhaustive, and it is not expected to be completed until next year.
Was The Landlord Negligent and Responsible for Fire?
During the lawsuit, the discovery process should uncover any documents that indicate whether the apartment management or owners knew or should have known of potential problems with the gas supply system within the complex. During the investigation, there is also the chance that additional evidence of negligence in the maintenance of the gas supply pipes or the meters may be found.
Landlord Maintenence Important As Infrastructure Ages
With much aging infrastructure throughout the Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area, there is the potential for more deadly explosions and fires like this home and apartments. Apartment residents are at the mercy of landlords and have to rely on their being alert and willing to make timely repairs. If you smell gas within your building, you should immediately leave the premises and call the fire department and Gas Company from a safe location.
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