WCF Courier. Jeff Reinitz. January 28, 2010.
Homeowner injured in explosion
Donna Firgard, 65, was injured during an explosion and fire at her home, 6718 Watters Road, in Hudson.
HUDSON – A Hudson woman who was injured when her house blew up in 2008 is taking propane and appliance companies to court.
Donald Beattie, a Des Moines attorney who is representing Donna and Richard Firgard, said in
court records that the businesses failed to provide proper warnings about the explosive gas and
should have cautioned customers to use gas detectors.
The lawsuit, filed Jan. 4 in Black Hawk County District Court, names New Century FS,
Growmark Inc., International Comfort Products/Heil, American Water Heater Co., Mor-Flow
Industries and Iowa Wholesale Supply Co. as defendants. The companies haven’t filed formal responses in court.
Donna Firgard, 66, was lighting a pilot light in the water heater at her house at 6718 Watters
Road May 30, 2008, when leaked propane allegedly ignited. The house caught fire, and she
suffered third-degree burns over a third of her body, according to earlier Courier reports.
An investigation by the Iowa fire marshal determined a propane leak was behind the blast.
The propane used ethyl mercaptan, which has a sharp smell, as an odorizer to warn people of it presence in the event of a leak.
The suit said the companies should have warned customers that ethyl mercaptan can fade under
different conditions. It said IPC and American Water Heater failed to incorporate a built-in gas
detector or provide one with the appliance.
Richard Firgard wasn’t home during the explosion and is seeking loss of consortium damages.