Lawsuit blames gas line workers for deadly Minnehaha Academy explosion

The suit claims the workers ran to save themselves instead of warning people about the leak.
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The aftermath of last summer's explosion.

The family of one of the people killed in the explosion at Minnehaha Academy on Aug. 2 blames the gas company for the woman's death. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the deadly explosion happened while two workers from Master Mechanical were installing new piping to relocate a CenterPoint Energy gas meter from the basement to the outside of the building.

That's when the gas started leaking. They weren't able to stop it, so they evacuated, the NTSB's report said. 

But the lawsuit, filed by Ruth Berg's family on Wednesday, alleges the workers "ran to save themselves" instead of warning people in and near the school about the leak. 

The NTSB said a maintenance worker at the school smelled the gas and ended up using his radio to tell people about the leak. That was 1 minute before the explosion, which killed Berg and John Carlson, and injured nine others. 

The lawsuit alleges CenterPoint and Master Mechanical "committed a series of blatantly unsafe, unreasonable and otherwise highly dangerous acts with deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others."

And the result of those acts was the deadly explosion, the lawsuit claims. 

The lawsuit says both CenterPoint and Master Mechanical were negligent for several reasons, including not telling people at Minnehaha Academy about how "hazardous and abnormally dangerous" the work they were doing was, and then not warning anyone when the gas started leaking. 

The lawsuit also alleges the companies did not train, supervise or equip their workers properly, and accuses them of not designing and implementing a safety plan, among other things. 

The lawsuit is seeking $50,000 in damages, or an amount to be determined at trial. You can read the full 15-page lawsuit here

The NTSB has only released its preliminary report on the investigation into the explosion, according to the agency's website

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