- May 28, 2021
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Catastrophic Injury
A couple in their 70’s living in Union County near Blairsville were killed in early May when their home exploded. They have since been identified as Peggy Wood and Ralph Norris Wood Jr.
Mourning neighbors, some of them left with damage to their own homes as well, describe the Woods’ house as completely leveled. Because of the extent of the damage, the investigation into the cause of the explosion may take weeks, but officials say they are checking into the home’s gas tank. Unintentional gas ignitions are by far the most common cause of serious household explosions.
Many gas explosions are caused by negligence at some point in the gas distribution process. If this is the case in the Woods’ accident, their surviving next of kin likely have grounds for a wrongful death case.
Preventable Fires and Explosions Kill Dozens of Georgia Residents Every Year
When housefires and explosions happen, and there is no obvious evidence of criminal activity, people are often quick to write them off as freak tragedies. These incidents aren’t an impartial, unstoppable force of nature, however. They’re usually the result of human error or neglect. The frequency of these accidents varies according to things like region, income, and type of housing, because not everyone receives the same level of fire protection, even though they should.
Based on the most recent data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Georgia’s fire death rate is about 30% higher than the national average. The average number of fire deaths in Georgia each year has never dropped below 114 since tracking began in 1981. That’s a lot of lives lost to inadequate fire safety.
The Woods did not deserve to become part of these statistics, and neither does anyone else. One of the best ways to stop the accidents and protect Georgia residents is to reject the idea of a freak tragedy, find out what events led to a fire or explosion, identify those responsible, and hold them accountable.
Providers of Gas, Equipment, and Maintenance Are All Responsible for Preventing Accidents
Flammable gases do, of course, carry some inherent danger that can’t be completely eliminated. This does not mean, however, that consumers use it entirely at their own risk and bear all the responsibility if something goes wrong.
Every company that sells flammable gas, equipment intended for use with flammable gas, or maintenance services for this equipment, has a responsibility to make sure their products and services don’t place consumers at any unnecessary risk. This includes, among other things, making sure tanks like the one in the Woods’ home are free of defects and have all appropriate safety mechanisms.
Companies that provide potentially dangerous products, such as flammable gas, must also provide consumers with thorough warnings and instructions on how to minimize their risk. Even accidents caused by customer error can be the gas company’s responsibility if the customer was not given potentially life-saving information.
Hopefully, the police and fire department will soon determine what caused the explosion that killed the Woods. Depending on the results, their surviving family may soon be making a choice about whether to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent company.
If you are the next of kin of Peggy Wood and Ralph Norris Wood Jr., or if you have been injured or lost a loved on to another gas explosion in Georgia, please feel free to call The Stoddard Firm at any time for a free consultation on your legal options.