Attorney Sam Coffey Quoted in the Sun Sentinel on Plantation Mall Explosion

Gas company describes steps it took on day of Plantation mall explosion

PLANTATION — A gas company, facing a lawsuit over a gas leak explosion, says it took action when it received a report of gas just before a Plantation shopping center exploded.

Peoples Gas System, also referred to as TECO Peoples Gas, says it received a call from the Vietnamese restaurant about the smell of gas, and that it was speaking with that customer when the blast happened. It says it dispatched a technician to the site and called 911. “Someone else called 911 before we did — 911 was already aware when we called,” company spokeswoman Sylvia Vega told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Thursday.

The circumstances of the company’s response to the blast are now spilling into a courtroom.

Attorney Sam Coffey has filed 14 separate lawsuits in the case — 12 for personal injury victims and two for property damage claims. He said his gross negligence lawsuit will be amended Friday to allege that Peoples Gas didn’t respond properly, forcing the court to have to decide whether the gas company had enough time to thwart some damage to a shopping mall. Nearly two dozen people were sent to the hospital.

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