You have probably already heard the tragic news of the young girl, Maya Javier, 7, who suffered devastating injuries in a house explosion in North Richland Hills just a few days before Christmas. If you haven’t, here’s what happened:
Maya was visiting her uncle, aunt and cousins at their home on December 21, 2013. The kids were just playing video games, enjoying their day. Then Maya went to the bathroom. When she switched on the light in their guest bathroom, it triggered an explosion which was so forceful that it lifted the entire roof of the house, tore out walls inside the home, shattered the windows, and caused a fire.
Everyone in the house at the time of the explosion was injured – Maya worst of all. She suffered terrible burns over approximately 40 percent of her body, including her face, both arms and her back. She is still recovering. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy.
So how did it happen?
An investigation has discovered that the explosion was caused by a leak in a gas pipeline which ran near the house. Gas which escaped from the pipeline migrated along tree roots beneath the ground, and up into the walls of the Maya’s uncle’s house – waiting to be ignited by the simple act of a light switch being turned on.
It is something which could have happened to anyone.
If that scares you, it should. What happened to Maya could have happened to anyone of us living here in the North Texas area. This explosion occurred as the result of improper installation and inspection of a pipeline which was pumping highly combustible gas through a residential area. The blame in this case lies squarely with Atmos Energy. They were negligent, and their negligence in this case has caused a family’s home to be destroyed and a young girl to suffer catastrophic and painful injuries which will visibly scar her for the rest of her life.
Today, our law firm filed a lawsuit against Atmos Energy on behalf of Maya and her family. We are determined to win her the full justice and fair compensation that she deserves. We want Atmos to recognize their wrongdoing in this case – and to redouble their efforts to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again.
Unfortunately, right now, the chance of another home gas explosion occurring is just too high. The network of gas lines running throughout the North Texas region include many sections of pipeline and other components which may very well be over 50 years old. Atmos Energy has been slow to replace such antiquated and hazardous equipment; resulting in an ongoing potential for explosions.
Although fairly recent state and federal legislation has introduced new laws to protect the public, there has been a huge oversight in their execution: while these new regulations are without a doubt necessary, they only address future construction projects – not faulty pipelines already in place.