Family That Lost House in Explosion Sues Columbia Gas

18-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed while on the Figueroas' Lawrence property during the gas explosions

What to Know

  • The Figueroa family of Lawrence, Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against Columbia Gas alleging gross negligence.
  • One person was killed and at least two dozen were injured in the Merrimack Valley gas explosions on Sept. 13.
  • The teen who was killed in the explosion had died on the Figueroa's property when a chimney collapsed on the car he was inside of.

A Massachusetts family whose house was destroyed in a series of gas explosions and fires earlier this month in the Merrimack Valley has sued the utility that serviced their home.

Attorney Socrates de la Cruz said the Figueroa family of Lawrence filed the lawsuit against Columbia Gas for gross negligence in connection with the explosion at 35 Chickering Road that injured their children and resulted in the death of an 18-year-old friend.

"This family will never be the same," de la Cruz said. "This tragedy was preventable and it should have been prevented."

The family consists of mother Omayra and her three children, including 21-year-old daughter Shakira Figueroa who was in the house when it exploded on Sept. 13 and underwent her fourth surgery on Thursday.

NBC Sports - Boston
Shakira Figueroa

Eighteen-year-old Leonel Rondon, a family friend, was sitting in a car in the driveway of the home when the explosion caused a chimney to fall on the vehicle, killing him.

In addition to claiming Rondon's life, about 25 others were injured and dozens of homes and businesses in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were destroyed or damaged in the explosions.

"We are heartbroken about the family's loss and will continue to do what we can to help them at this terribly difficult time," Columbia Gas president Steve Bryant said in a statement Thursday.

De la Cruz acknowledged that Columbia Gas has been helpful since the explosion, but the family still wants answers.

"The Figueroa family and this community will rebuild, but an integral part of rebuilding is calling to account those responsible for this tragedy," de la Cruz said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us