HUNTINGTON – A former mechanic at Steel of West Virginia has filed suit against the company, alleging his lack of protective clothing while working with a torch caused his injuries during an explosion.

Samuel J. Perry claims his supervisor instructed him to use an oxygen/fuel gas torch to repair a gearbox that was overheating. Perry was to use the torch to cut a face in the gearbox, according to the complaint filed July 17 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Following instructions, Perry began using the torch, but just as the torch came in contact with the combustible vapor from the gear lubricant, an explosion occurred, the suit states.

"Defendants failed to insure that Plaintiff wore protective equipment while using the torch as alleged and knew that allowing him to do so created an unsafe working condition that presented a high degree of risk and a strong probability of serious injury or death to Plaintiff," the suit states.

As a result of the explosion, Perry suffered injuries to his arms, neck, ears and face, was prevented from earning wages and suffered great pain of the body and mind, which will continue into the future, the complaint says. He also claims he incurred medical expenses of about $25,000, has sustained a reduced earning capacity and has been impaired in his ability to enjoy life.

Perry is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Charles M. Hatcher Jr. and Chad Hatcher of Hatcher Law Office in Huntington will be representing him. The case has been assigned to Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 09-C-604

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