Press Release (ePRNews.com) - WASHINGTON - Mar 31, 2017 - Personal injury lawyers from the law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have filed lawsuits against several defendants in connection with a fatal apartment explosion and fire that occurred in August of 2016. The lawsuits – filed Thursday, March 30, 2017 in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD (Case Nos. 431610V, 431611V, and 431609V) – names Flower Branch Apartments, Key Management Co., and Washington Gas as defendants.
The lawsuits stem from an August 10, 2016 incident at Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, in which a natural gas explosion and subsequent fire killed 7 victims and injured over 30 others. The fire also forced more than 100 residents from their homes, many of whom were required to escape in the middle of the night by fleeing the complex or jumping from balconies. Numerous residents of the complex lost their homes and many, if not all, of their possessions.
An investigation opened last year by local officials and federal regulators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) discovered the explosion was caused by a leak and build-up of natural gas in the meter room of the apartment complex. Officials also reported that in the months prior to the blast, residents and others had made multiple complaints of smelling gas around the complex.
Despite complaints received on several occasions, the lawsuits allege that the defendants, among other things, failed to uphold their legal duty to repair the hazardous condition. The suits further allege that the defendants’ decision not to act constituted a conscious disregard for the safety and well-being of residents.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. filed the lawsuits on behalf of three victims, Abdoulaye Boye, Jose Marquez Palacios, and Judith Torres Molina, who suffered injuries and lost personal possessions in the explosion and subsequent fire. While fleeing for their lives, they left behind irreplaceable personal items, clothing and furniture, money, and important documents claimed by the fire. Firm Partner Joseph Cammarata notes:
“Although there were numerous warnings regarding a known gas leak, the defendants chose not to take appropriate steps to protect residents from the threat of imminent potentially fatal harm. Their neglect caused our clients to endure a harrowing experience, suffer injuries, and lose their homes and possessions in the process – all as a result of a tragedy that should have been prevented had appropriate measures been taken. By these lawsuits the Defendants will be held accountable for their decision not to act reasonably.”
At a press conference announcing the filing of these lawsuits, Mr. Boye spoke about the residents’ numerous complaints to the Defendants which were ignored, and about his call to 911 over two weeks prior to the explosion reporting the smell of gas. On the night of the explosion Mr. Boye was returning to his apartment after taking out the trash when he planned to place a second 911 call. He believed that he may have located the smell of gas in the basement. Before he could use the phone, the building exploded. Mr. Boye expressed sorrow and frustration that the Defendants have never offered any sort of explanation or shared words of apology.
Ms. Torres Molina, who was eight months pregnant at the time of incident, described how she and her husband, Mr. Marquez Palacios, were suddenly awakened in their bed by the sound of a loud explosion. She ran to her window to see the building next-door crumbling from the blast. Ms. Torres Molina and her husband then fled the building to find safety outside. Minutes later they looked up to see their own apartment engulfed in flames. During the escape from the building, Mr. Marquez Palacios suffered a knee injury, and he was unable to work for approximately six months. He continues to suffer ongoing problems due to his knee injury. Ms. Torres Molina described how from one moment to the next they lost every possession in the world at a time when they had their first baby on the way. However, she and her husband were thankful to have escaped the fire, and even more thankful that their daughter Esther, who is now 5-months-old, is healthy, happy, and strong.
At the press conference, Mr. Cammarata noted how the courtroom is a great equalizer. Before the lawsuits were filed, the victims could not force the Defendants to act in response to their concerns. Now they will be required to face the consequences of their choices.
Chaikin, Sharman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is personal injury law firm that has earned national recognition for protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged. The firm’s award-winning lawyers serve clients throughout the DC Metro area from offices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Visit the firm’s website to learn more: www.chaikinandsherman.com. Source :
Chaikin, Sharman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.