A lawsuit was filed last month against U-Haul International Inc., its affiliates and the general managers of the agency’s Philadelphia retail stores. The wrongful death suit, filed in a Pennsylvania state court, seeks to hold the Defendants liable for a July 2014 food truck explosion in Philadelphia that killed two people and hurt 11 bystanders.
Plaintiff Uliser Galdamez filed the wrongful death and negligence suit against U-Haul, U-Haul Co. of Philadelphia, U-Haul’s parent company Amerco, and the general managers of its retail stores in Philadelphia, alleging they are liable for the fatal injuries that his mother and sister, Olga and Jaylin Galdamez, sustained in the July 1, 2014, explosion of the Galdamez family’s La Parrillada Chapina food truck when it was parked in Philadelphia’s Feltonville neighborhood.
It’s alleged in the complaint that a deteriorating propane tank installed in the La Parrillada Chapina food truck ruptured and triggered an explosion and fire that left Olga and Jaylin Galdamez, both of whom were working in the truck at the time, badly burned. They died from their injuries weeks later, according to the complaint. The suit says:
The catastrophic injuries to and the deaths of plaintiff’s decedents Olga Galdamez and Jaylin Galdamez were caused by the negligence, carelessness and/or reckless conduct of all defendants.
The propane tank that ruptured was one of two tanks that were installed in the food truck, and they had been regularly taken to U-Haul’s retail stores on West Allegheny Avenue and West Hunting Park Avenue in Philadelphia to be refilled with propane in the weeks preceding the July 1, 2014, explosion, according to the complaint. Even though the tanks were old, deteriorating and in damaged condition, employees at both of those U-Haul stores consistently refilled the propane tanks for them to be used on the food truck, the suit says.
Eri Vending Cart Inc. is the company that allegedly was responsible for designing and installing the food truck kitchen. Alan M. Feldman of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig, one of the lawyers for the Plaintiff, said in a statement:
Companies like U-Haul that fill propane tanks are obligated by federal law to inspect the tanks and make certain they are safe for use. The catastrophic explosion that occurred here is what happens when those requirements are ignored.
The complaint asserts claims for negligence and recklessness and an unspecified amount in damages for the wrongful death of Olga Galdamez and Jaylin Galdamez. The Plaintiff is represented by Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig LLP. The case is in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.