Following the sixth reported death from the Feb. 7 gas-fed explosion at the Kleen Energy facility in Middletown, the New Haven law firm, Stratton Faxon, filed the first lawsuit on behalf of two men injured in the blast, Timothy Hilliker of Glastonbury and Harold Thoma of Bolton. The lawsuit accuses O&G Industries, Keystone Construction and Maintenance Services, Inc., and Kleen Energy Systems LLC, the general and sub-contractors working on the plant, of failing to hold in natural gas being purged from the gas line and negligently permitting gas to leak, ignite, and combust.
As reported by the law firm, Hilliker and Thoma said that none of the general or sub-contractors had alerted them, their co-workers, or their supervisors that natural gas being purged from the lines that day could not be contained. Additionally, the firm charges that the defendants had not made preparations necessary to guard against ignition of natural gas.
Lawyer Joel T. Faxon from Stratton Faxon told The Hartford Courant that the proper protocol for purging the gas lines at the plant was disregarded on the day of the explosion.
“Not only was that protocol not properly executed, but there was a general sense of confusion among the workers that day as to what was going on,” he said. “There was simply no communication from those in charge. This tragedy was 100 percent preventable.”