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Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Wrongful Death > Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Forced To Hand Over Records After Explosion

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Forced To Hand Over Records After Explosion

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The chocolate factory explosion of 2023 still conjures up horrific memories for many Pennsylvania residents. This accident was one of the worst industrial explosions in recent memory, and it claimed the lives of numerous workers. The blast was of such a high magnitude that it injured people sitting in nearby apartments. Since that day, federal investigators have been trying to determine what caused the blast.

Public Utility Commission “Refuses” to Hand Over Inspection Records 

Although the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission repeatedly refused to provide important records to federal investigators, a judge has forced them to disclose the information. The National Transportation Safety Board had requested these documents on numerous occasions, but with no prior success.

This natural gas safety board and another state gas company are closely associated with the chocolate factory explosion of 2023 in West Reading, Pennsylvania. This explosion completely destroyed an entire building, to the point where only a pile of bricks remained. Seven people died in the explosion. Several nearby buildings also suffered heavy damage, and multiple injuries were reported.

Federal investigators now believe that the explosion was caused by not one but two simultaneous gas leaks. In order to follow this lead, they asked UGI Utilities Inc. to hand over five years of inspection records. However, the gas company claimed that these documents contain security secrets, and that revealing them would somehow endanger public utility. The implication is that this would give people clues on how to carry out terror attacks.

In response, the federal investigators offered to review the records in private and sign a nondisclosure agreement. However, these requests also fell on deaf ears for unclear reasons – and the state utility safety commission refused to comply once again. Federal investigators say they need these records to determine whether people complained about gas odors or leaks in the past. This could potentially show that the company negligently ignored these complaints and failed to fix critical problems with the gas pipelines prior to the explosion.

Surviving employees specifically told federal investigators that they smelled gas moments before the explosion.

Can I Sue After Explosion Injuries in Pennsylvania? 

It is possible to sue after suffering injuries in a Pennsylvania explosion. Many of these accidents are caused by defective gas lines, malfunctioning water heaters, and similar issues. If you can prove that the explosion was caused by some form of negligence, you can recover compensation for all of your damages. If you lost a loved one in a fatal explosion, you may also file a wrongful death claim. Note that employees can sue negligent third parties (such as gas companies) for causing, allowing, or contributing to workplace explosions.

Find an Explosion Injury Lawyer in Pennsylvania 

If you have suffered injuries in an explosion, it makes sense to get in touch with a qualified, experienced Scranton wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. While federal investigators can look into the accident, an experienced lawyer may also identify new signs of serious negligence. If someone else caused the explosion, you are fully within your rights to pursue legal action. A settlement can provide you with compensation for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Book a consultation with The Needle Law Firm today to learn more about your options.

Sources: 

ohscanada.com/judges-orders-pennsylvania-agency-to-produce-inspection-records-related-to-chocolate-plant-blast/

osha.gov/publications/shib073105

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