Survivors of deadly 2014 New Year's Day fire sue gas company

The blaze in Minneapolis' Cedar Riverside neighborhood killed three people and injured 14.
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Survivors of the deadly New Year's Day explosion at an apartment building in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis are suing the gas company and property owner. 

The 12 victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against CenterPoint Energy and Wadani Properties (the building owner), arguing the Jan. 1, 2014, explosion and fire could have been prevented. Three people were killed and 14 others were injured.

The 22-page lawsuit will be filed Thursday in Hennepin County District Court, the victims' attorney Aaron Eken told GoMN.

Although the exact cause is undetermined, the lawsuit says witnesses described smelling natural gas in the area prior to the explosion. 

The suit accuses CenterPoint of placing high pressure gas lines in confined spaces, arguing doing so increases the likelihood of a gas explosion. It also alleges the explosion might not have happened had CenterPoint installed valves on the pipes, which would have prevented gas leaks. 

The survivors' lawsuit also accuses Wadani Properties of neglect, arguing some apartments lacked working heat and the building owners didn't provide natural gas detectors.

The lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 for each of the 12 victims.

We've reached out to CenterPoint for comment. Contact information for Wadani Properties could not be located. 

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