In the middle of summer 2018, a gas explosion rocked the Madison suburb of Sun Prairie. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, several buildings were no longer standing. Even worse, the town’s fire captain eventually succumbed to injuries he sustained when responding to the explosion.
Some residents who lived in homes that the explosion damaged or destroyed filed lawsuits in early August 2019. These suits represent the latest effort by victims to receive just compensation for their losses.
The gas explosion
On July 10, 2018, contractors were installing fiber optic cables for Verizon. Workers from another company had marked the location of gas lines to allow for safe drilling. Unfortunately, these individuals were off by approximately 25 feet. When contractors cut into the ground, they punctured a gas line. The mistake resulted in a massive explosion that leveled most of a block. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against anyone involved.
Following the explosion, the widow of the deceased fire captain filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the companies that caused the explosion. Two injured firefighters also sued, as did the city of Sun Prairie. These lawsuits are still pending, as a Dane County Circuit Court judge has denied the defendants’ request for dismissal.
The latest lawsuits
Several individuals who lost property in the explosion have now filed their own claims, naming five corporate defendants that they believe bear some responsibility for causing the explosion. Specifically, the plaintiffs assert that workers for each company were negligent both in not properly identifying the location of the gas line and when drilling into the ground. Those seeking compensation argue that they have lost personal property and work-related income. They further assert that they have gone through other hardships, such as anxiety, inconvenience and interruption of their personal lives.
It will be some time before Sun Prairie returns to normal after the catastrophic explosion that occurred there. Still, as both the earlier and latest lawsuits demonstrate, harmed individuals may receive just compensation for the damages they suffered due to negligent corporate conduct.