Property owners say gas explosion caused damage

By Melody Dareing | Mar 21, 2014

CHARLESTON -- Two property owners are suing those involved with natural gas pipeline distribution after the 2012 gas main in Sissonville exploded and damaged properties.

John Hampton Tinney, who is a Charleston attorney, and Elizabeth Tinney Garten filed a lawsuit Feb. 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court against NiSource Inc., Columbia Pipeline Group Services Co., formerly known as NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage Co., Columbia Gas Transmission L.L.C., William Christian, James Cooper, Steve Nelson, Jack Whitmire Jr., Mitchell G. Thomas, Daniel Herpin and Steven Browder.

The lawsuit states Tinney and Garten owned property on Sissonville Drive in Sissonville, which was located in proximity to a natural gas line. The individuals listed in the suit were specialists employed to maintain the line, the complaint states.

There was a natural gas explosion on Dec. 11, 2012, which shot a fireball onto nearby properties including the Tinney-Garten property. The explosion was caused by extensive corrosion and a lack of repair, the complaint states.

A 20-inch natural gas line ruptured on Archibald Hill, shooting flames 80 to 90 feet into the air and sending debris flying. The explosion and the fires that followed destroyed four residences, damaged five others and crumbled a football field long section of Interstate 77 near Sissonville.

Tinney and Garten are seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages, pre and post-judgement interest, plus court costs. They are represented by Marvin W. Masters of the Masters Law Firm L.C. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie L. Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case No. 14-C-276

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