Local Man Injured in Home Explosion Dies

Damage from a gas explosion at a residence in Carrollton, Texas.
Damage from a gas explosion at a residence in Carrollton, Texas. | Image by WFAA

A Carrollton man gravely injured in an explosion at his home last month has died, with his wife continuing the legal action the couple launched against Atmos Energy.

Sergio Valdez, 51, died in the hospital on February 17 after sustaining injuries in a blast at his residence located in the 1800 block of Highland Drive at about 3:44 a.m. on January 20. Jesus Garcia Jr., a lawyer representing Valdez and his wife Raquel Garcia, reported Valdez’s death on February 22.

“Mr. Valdez was a loving, dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and friend who will be dearly missed,” Jesus Garcia Jr. said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Valdez was in the bathroom at the time of the explosion, which Carrollton Fire Chief Michael Thompson believes was caused by a gas leak into the sewage line that was ignited by a lit cigarette. Valdez was left severely burned while his wife and four children were unharmed.

Jesus Garcia Jr. will be advancing the lawsuit against Atmos Energy, which provides natural gas to many residences and businesses across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, on behalf of Raquel Garcia. Citing “Atmos Energy’s consistent, and well-documented, operational negligence,” the complaint demands $1 million in damages from the firm.

Not long before the home explosion, the utility company was targeted by nine lawsuits representing 33 people in the aftermath of a blast on January 8 at the Sandman Signature Fort Worth hotel. As covered by The Dallas Express, 21 people were injured in the explosion.

A lawsuit filed against Northland Properties by Atmos Energy claims that someone at the Sandman hotel had reported a gas leak to the firm before the explosion and that the caller had been instructed by an Atmos representative to evacuate the building but failed to do so. The filing seeks to absolve Atmos Energy from any liability in the explosion.

“The evidence that will ultimately show the source of the gas leak that caused the explosion is located somewhere within the Hotel, which is controlled, either directly or indirectly, by Northland,” read the lawsuit, according to The Dallas Morning News.

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