The family of three people killed in a Nov. 23 gas explosion inside a Campton, Kentucky, home has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the gas company repeatedly failed to properly respond to reports of leaking gas at the residence.
The gas explosion demolished the home of 80-year-old Albert Vanderpool, killing him, his son Phillip Vanderpool, 52, and Phillip Vanderpool’s wife Sueann Vanderpool, 48.
The wrongful death complaint, filed Dec. 23 by Phillip and Sueann Vanderpool’s sons in Wolfe County Circuit Court, alleges that Troublesome Creek Gas Corporation failed to take appropriate action to correct a gas leak at the home and endangered its occupants.
According to the lawsuit, the family first called Troublesome Creek on Nov. 19 to report the smell of gas in their home. The gas company sent a technician, also named as a defendant, to the house. The suit alleges that the technician failed to perform an adequate inspection and left the residence “without shutting off the gas, without fixing the gas leak, and without warning the Vanderpool family about a foreseeable risk of harm.”
The following day (Nov. 20), the family called the gas company again because they were concerned about the smell of gas in their house. The company sent the same technician to the residence. The lawsuit asserts that the technician “failed to use any equipment or follow industry standards” to detect the gas leak and left again without fixing the faulty gas line owned by the defendant.
On Nov. 21, the Vanderpool family called the gas company again about the gas odor but it failed to send anyone to investigate the leak.
The family called Troublesome Creek again on Nov. 22 but the company still didn’t send anyone to the house to investigate or fix the problem.
Jordan Vanderpool, one of the plaintiffs, is a trained gas pipeline technician. He visited his parents and grandfather on Nov. 22 to investigate the gas leak because the utility company failed to respond. He immediately noticed the smell of gas and turned off the gas supply to the house to minimize the risk of explosion.
Troublesome Creek sent another technician to the Vanderpool residence on Nov. 23, but once again failed to perform an inspection that could have found the leak, the lawsuit alleges. Instead, a gas company technician told the Vanderpool family the house was safe and turned the gas supply to the residence back on before leaving.
About 30 minutes after that technician left, something ignited the accumulation of gas, resulting in a massive explosion that killed the Vanderpool family and leveled their home, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint calls the gas company’s conduct grossly negligent, wanton, and reckless. The manner of death, the suit alleges, caused the victims to suffer “personal injuries, excruciating pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress” that led to their deaths. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the disfigurement and loss of dignity suffered by the Vanderpools intensified the grief suffered by their surviving family.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages.