WAXAHACHIE, Texas - More than 20 Waxahachie residents are suing Atmos Energy because of a natural gas explosion last fall.
The homeowners claim the company was negligent. That negligence led to several homes being damaged and some were completely destroyed. Three people were injured.
The lawsuit claims the company failed to act on reports of a severed gas line as gas service in the neighborhood was disrupted for days in 2010.
The suit states "the investigation revealed a myriad of mistakes, missteps, negligence and gross negligence on the part of Atmos.”
Adele Chavez's home was leveled. The 66-year old and her 50-year-old brother with Down syndrome are still recovering physically and mentally. She moves her hands frequently to comfort the tightness of her many skin grafts.
"I'm not over it yet. I still have those fears,” Chavez said. “Sometimes I think at night is this house electric or gas? Everywhere I go, if there’s any gas or anything I'm kind of afraid of that."
The explosion happened when Chavez turned on her electric cooktop to prepare breakfast for her brother. Her home was destroyed and had to spend more than a month in the hospital recovering from severe burns.
Chavez and homeowner Jeff Dotson were at their attorney’s office to announce a lawsuit against Atmos energy that also includes nearly two dozen neighbors.
The neighbors believe the company needs to own up to its part in the devastating blast.
"As a neighborhood, we just want to feel like this is not going to happen again,” said Dotson. “We didn't smell gas. There was no indicator."
"It was just by the grace of God,” explained Chavez. “I felt like that day I wasn't going to make it out of there. I thought I was going to die."
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