Trinidad: Customer sues for $300k over 2015 gas explosion at restaurant

Flashback: February 2015 firefighters at the scence of the incident at El Pecos resturant in Maraval.

(Trinidad Guardian) An in­sur­ance agent who was se­ri­ous­ly in­jured in a gas ex­plo­sion at El Pecos Grill in Mar­aval, al­most four years ago, is now su­ing the restau­rant and its fu­el sup­pli­er for com­pen­sa­tion.

In her law­suit, Nicole Gillian-Blake sued the restau­rant and North Plant LPG Co-op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety Lim­it­ed for al­most $300,000 in com­pen­sa­tion to cov­er her med­ical ex­pens­es, loss of earn­ings and emo­tion­al trau­ma.

When the law­suit came up for an ini­tial case man­age­ment con­fer­ence in the Port-of-Spain High Court on Mon­day, Jus­tice Frank Seep­er­sad post­poned the hear­ing to co­in­cide with an­oth­er law­suit in which the restau­rant is su­ing the gas com­pa­ny.

Seep­er­sad stat­ed that both mat­ters should be heard in tan­dem.

Ac­cord­ing to Gillian-Blake’s case, the in­ci­dent oc­curred around 10.35 am on Feb­ru­ary 5, 2015, as she was pur­chas­ing lunch.

The Guardian Life em­ploy­ee claimed that she smelt a strong odour of gas be­fore a “thun­der­ous ex­plo­sion ripped through the premis­es”.

“As a re­sult of the ex­plo­sion, the claimant was knocked off her feet and thrown some six feet away on­to the ground in the park­ing lot out­side the said premis­es,” Gillian-Blake’s lawyers stat­ed in her court doc­u­ments.

Gillian-Blake sus­tained mul­ti­ple abra­sions and lac­er­a­tions to her body and was left with frag­ments of bro­ken glass em­bed­ded in the wounds.

While Gillian-Blake in­curred over $20,000 in med­ical bills, she is on­ly claim­ing $12,582.24 as her em­ploy­ee health plan pro­vid­ed some cov­er.

She is al­so claim­ing $89,314.50 for her loss of earn­ings dur­ing the pe­ri­od she was re­cov­er­ing and $175,000 for the pain and suf­fer­ing she en­dured as a re­sult of the blast.

In to­tal, a dozen cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees of the restau­rant were se­ri­ous­ly in­jured in the ex­plo­sion. Four months lat­er, the restau­rant’s ac­coun­tant John Soo Ping Chow suc­cumbed to his in­juries at the Jack­son Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal in Mi­a­mi, Flori­da.

A fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port from the Trinidad & Tobago Fire Ser­vice sug­gest­ed that there was a gas leak in the de­liv­ery line of the gas com­pa­ny’s truck.

How­ev­er, the re­port deemed the ex­plo­sion as ac­ci­den­tal as it stat­ed: “the most prob­a­ble cause of the fire was as a re­sult of ig­ni­tion to a mix­ture of LPG and air, with­in the rear pas­sage­way near the El Pecos LPG cylin­ders.”

Gillian-Blake is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Rud­yard David­son.

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