Suit Filed in Hudson House Explosion

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Suit Filed in Hudson House Explosion

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.