The family of 12-year-old Linda Rogers accused Atmos Energy of gross negligence in a lawsuit filed Thursday over a gas explosion that killed the child.
The lawsuit claims the company operates a gas distribution system that loses 123 billion cubic feet of natural gas through leaks each year and that Atmos had many prior warnings about dangerous problems in the Northwest Dallas neighborhood where the February 23 explosion occurred but failed to take appropriate precautions.
Records show the company had been making repairs in the alley behind the child’s home in the days before the explosion, after two other gas related incidents on the adjacent street, but evacuations did not occur until after the child died.
Attorney Mary Christian Barr is one of the lawyers working of the Rogers family lawsuit.
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“In the weeks prior to this explosion, there were many comments about smell of natural gas in the area and Atmos did nothing about it. So, we are just trying to protect the citizens of Dallas and especially the family of Linda Rogers,” said Barr.[[478348413, C]]
The lawsuit requests exemplary damages to punish the company.
An Atmos spokesperson said the company declines comment on pending litigation.
In the past Atmos officials have said the gas distribution system in the Northwest Dallas neighborhood had been performing properly prior to unprecedented February rain. Coupled with unique soil conditions in that neighborhood the officials said the explosion was the result of unique circumstances that could not have been expected.
The lawsuit was filed as Atmos dealt with a new round of evacuation and repairs after a new gas leak was detected Wednesday.
Gas service was shut off to around 30 homes near Webb Chapel Road on Nogales and Linda Drive and residents were allowed to return Thursday afternoon. Atmos said gas service to those houses may not be restored until sometime next week as workers perform a complete replacement of the gas lines.
An online map provided by Atmos Thursday indicated that gas service has been restored to a larger area that was cut off for line replacement shortly after the fatal explosion.
Neighbors said the blocks on Nogales and Linda Drive affected by the new leak and repairs were to have been included in the earlier replacement plan but were removed shortly after the February work began.