Injured couple files suit after house explosion

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Villas couple that was severely burned and whose home was destroyed by an explosion in early November have filed a personal injury suit in Superior Court here.

Jim and Evelyn McCarty are represented by Philadelphia law firm Kline & Specter in the matter. Jim McCarty suffered serious burns in the incident, and his wife’s injuries included two broken legs.

The single family home was a total loss. Emergency responders to the explosion and fire were honored by Lower Township’s council at Monday night’s meeting.

According to a press release from the law firm, the “problem began in April 2013 when the McCartys decided to convert their home from propane to natural gas.”

The statement from Kline & Specter continues says that South Jersey Fuel & Propane contracted with Shore Guys Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC, to disconnect a large propane tank located on the McCarty’s property. The lawsuit claims Shore Guys cut the propane pipes underneath the home and turned off the tank but never locked or “tagged out” the tank and did not removed it from the property.

According to the law firm, the explosion occurred when the McCartys, unable to turn on their gas fireplace, sought the assistance of a neighbor. The neighbor noticed the propane tank valve was closed and opened the valve, causing gas to flow into the severed pipes and collect beneath the home.

The explosion was ignited when James McCarty stepped into the shower and turned the spigot, igniting the hot water tank and the gas beneath the home.

“Today, the McCartys take the first steps toward righting the wrong," said Shanin Specter of the law firm, who is representing the McCartys along with attorney Dominic Guerrini.

The firm, formed in 1995, lists numerous multi-million dollar results for plaintiffs on its website.

The Nov. 7 explosion was felt throughout the neighborhood. Neighbors and first responders helped pull the owners out of the wreckage while the fire was still burning.

Neighbors said the explosion shook their houses, and smoke from the blaze could be seen through much of the township.

The McCartys were hospitalized at the Crozier Burn Center in Chester, Pa. According to a family member, Evelyn McCarty suffered two broken legs. Jim McCarty suffered burns from head to toe on his back.

Two benefits for the family were organized, the most recent one at the VFW Post on Dec. 14 in the Villas.

South Jersey Fuel & Propane is located in Cape May Court House. Shore Guys Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC is located in Rio Grande.

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