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Settlements Reached in Gas Pipeline Explosion Lawsuits

Six lawsuits filed over a West Virginia gas pipeline explosion in December have been settled, but at least one claim remains unresolved.  

The complaints were filed against companies that own a gas pipeline near Charleston, including NiSource, Columbia Gas Transmission and some of those companies employees.

The December 11 blast destroyed homes and damaged Interstate 77, but reports indicated that no one was seriously injured or killed.

Details of the gas pipeline explosion lawsuit settlements were not released.

Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of NiSource, announced last month that it had reached agreements with more than 40 families affected by the blast. However, it was unable to reach a settlement with Margaret Johnson, who claims to have been injured by the explosion and says the incident made it impossible to sell her house, which was hit by the explosion.

Johnson claims she burned her feet and injured her hands while fleeing from her home after the explosion. Her feet were allegedly burned as she ran barefoot from her house to get to her car. She then suffered thumb tendon damage when she grabbed the hot handle of the car door, according to her lawsuit. Johnson is suing the defendants for physical and mental pain and suffering.

The lawsuits were all filed in Kanawha Circuit Court and accused the companies of failing to properly maintain the pipeline. They also claimed that the companies did not provide proper safety inspection training to employees and failed to adequately train them in emergency response procedures.

Columbia Gas Transmission announced that it will continue to work with families to resolve complaints and address damages caused by the blast. In a statement, the company pointed out that it has provided temporary housing, food, and transportation to those affected by the explosion.

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Image via Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

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