(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.