Rescuers sue in 2011 gas blast in Park Forest
February 21, 2013 12:12AM
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:19AM
Two men hurt when they rescued a Park Forest woman from her burning townhouse after a natural gas explosion two years ago are suing the construction firms that allegedly ruptured the gas line.
Homeowners Yolanda Collins and Christina Sandoval previously sued after their adjacent townhouses in the first block of Bailey Road were destroyed in the Feb. 22, 2011 blast.
Now, two AT&T service technicians who rescued Collins from her home that day also are suing Trine Construction Corp., the West Chicago-based contractor that struck a gas main while working on a water system improvement project for the village, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Ronald Shockley, of Tinley Park, and Garreth L. Carpenter, of Bourbonnais, say they were working on nearby phone lines when they heard the blast and heard Collins screaming “My baby!” The men dug through burning brick and rubble, believing a child was buried in the ruins of the home, the lawsuit says. Authorities later learned the woman’s son was not home at the time of the explosion.
Shockley sprinted over to a Trine employee for help, but the worker only threw a short ladder at his feet and ran away, the lawsuit claims.
It says the men had to get a longer ladder from their truck to rescue Collins from a burning second-story ledge. A second blast leveled the home moments after they got her to safety, according to the suit.
The AT&T employees accuse Trine, USIC Locating Services and Nicor Gas of negligence for failing to take precautions so workers would not hit the gas line.
Shockley still has scarring on his wrists from where he was burned during the rescue, and Carpenter has shoulder pain and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the ordeal, the lawsuit says.
A Nicor spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit. Trine and USIC Locating Services could not be reached for comment.