Victims of apartment explosion file lawsuits

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WASHINGTON, DC — Survivors and family members of victims of the August 10 natural gas explosion and fire at the Flower Branch apartments in Silver Spring, Md. have filed two lawsuits against the gas company and apartment management company.

The law firm of Bailey & Glasser LLP filed a class-action lawsuit and a death injury complaint in D.C. Superior Court against Washington Gas and Kay Apartment Communities. Lawyers from the firm announced the lawsuits outside the Washington, D.C. offices of Washington Gas and were joined by victims of the explosion and fire and advocates from CASA de Maryland.

"We’re asking for justice, we’re asking for substantial damages, we’re asking for safety reforms at Washington Gas and at Kay Management,” said Bailey & Glasser LLP Attorney John W. Barrett. However, Barrett would not say what dollar amount they are seeking for compensation. "The claims in the lawsuit, primarily, relate to negligence by Washington Gas, Kay Management, with respect to maintaining their lines, with respect to responding to complaints about gas odor."

Seven people were killed, dozens injured, and many more displaced after the natural gas explosion on August 10th, and ensuing fire. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the cause of the explosion and said it could take up to a year to complete. The agency did not comment on the lawsuits.

In response to the lawsuits, Washington Gas issued this statement:

"First and foremost, our deepest and sincerest condolences remain with those impacted by what occurred in Silver Spring and we continue to support the community in every way we can.

As you know, as a signed party to the NTSB's investigation of this tragedy, we are precluded from making any public statements about the details of their work or about our work with them in helping to determine what happened at the Flower Branch apartments. Similarly, we will be unable to comment on any filed or pending litigation related to it. We would note that the NTSB does have a communications team to whom you can and should reach out."

The apartment management company, Kay Apartment Communities, did not directly address the lawsuits but did write a response to the news conference.