The parents of an 8-year-old boy who was killed following a “natural gas explosion” inside an East Baltimore rowhouse have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.
Shanika Brown and Troy Douglas seek compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000 from the utility, which they allege should have known of a gas leak from a “cracked, damaged and corroded pipe” in the basement of a house in the 400 block of North Lakewood Road.
The couple’s son, also named Troy Douglas, was walking home from school past the house Feb. 19 when the explosion happened, according to the lawsuit. Troy died when a wall of the house fell on him, according to the lawsuit. He was “pronounced dead at the scene after a search of debris left by the explosion,” according to the lawsuit.
“The defendant had monitoring equipment in the area that provided sufficient information about the flow and usage of natural gas to inform it of a leak before the explosion, in sufficient time to prevent the leak and resulting explosion,” the lawsuit states.
Aaron Koos, a BGE spokesman, said the company is unable to comment on pending litigation.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Troy Douglas,” Koos said in a statement. “The investigation is ongoing and we are committed to understanding the full dynamics of the event.”
Koos added BGE asks customers to “report any natural gas issues or concerns immediately and we will respond promptly.”
The complaint, filed Wednesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court, seeks damages for negligence, strict liability, and conscious and intentional disregard in addition to the wrongful death count.
The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph T. Williams of Williams & Santoni LLP in Towson and Paul G. Tolzman of Leviness, Tolzman & Hamilton P.A. in Baltimore. The lawyers did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
Last month, on what would have been Troy’s 9th birthday, the intersection of Jefferson Street and North Lakewood was renamed “Troy Douglas Way.”