Families of Canaan Valley gas explosion victims file suit

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 22, 2008

PARSONS -- The families of four men killed in a Canaan Valley natural gas explosion have filed a lawsuit in Tucker Circuit Court seeking damages from several companies involved in the construction.

Leroy Mallow, Dana Guire, Dale Wright and William Jett died from injuries sustained in the April 17, 2006, explosion in the Pointy Knob subdivision off Back Hollow Road. Last week's filing names Canaan Valley Gas Co., Allegheny Energy Inc., Monongahela Power Co., Allegheny Energy Service Corp., Caltuc Properties Inc. and "John Doe" as defendants.

Caltuc Properties, based in Creston, Wirt County, voluntarily dissolved its company in July 2006, according to the secretary of state's Web site.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs seek compensation for damages "arising out of defendants alleged negligence and carelessness" that led to the deaths of the four men.

Parsons attorneys John Cooper and Janet Preston represent Mallow's family. Jeffrey and Peter Zurbuch of Elkins represent Guire's estate, Dorwin Wolfe of Elkins represents Wright's estate and Alex Shook of Morgantown represents Jett's estate.

Walter "Jerry" Sebastian of Dry Fork was the sole survivor
According to a report by the state Public Service Commission, a cracked pipeline –- likely caused by lightning, digging or a defective connection –- caused the deadly explosion. A team of investigators examined four possible causes, but reached no definitive conclusion.

The state did not issue a "notice of probable violation" in the case.

No court date has been set for the case.

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