A family that had several members injured by a gas explosion that killed a teenager outside their home has settled a lawsuit against Columbia Gas.
According to a statement from the company, Columbia Gas will pay the Figueroa family of Lawrence for a motorized wheelchair, a mobility van and necessary modifications to their home at 35 Chickering Road. The settlement comes after several family members were left with long-term injuries and an 18-year-old was killed in the driveway of the home during the Sept. 13 gas explosions.
The family will also receive an amount not yet made public, according to the company's statement.
A press release announcing the settlement came Tuesday morning from Columbia Gas, an operating company of NiScource, Inc.
According to the lawsuit filed in September, 21-year-old Shakira Figueroa suffered extensive leg injuries that required at least four surgeries.
The lawsuit states that the entire Figueroa family was home when "multiple explosions" happened that day. Omayra Figueroa and her daughter Shakira were in the house while her sons Christian and Sergio were in a RAV4 that family friend Leonel Rondon, 18, had just driven into the driveway.
Rondon, a newly licensed driver, was killed when the home's chimney collapsed on the RAV4.
The family sued the gas company for damages from the catastrophic day.
According to the press release, a member of the Figueroa family was injured severely and suffers from limited mobility, which the company and the family’s attorneys, Socrates De La Cruz, Paul Zerola and Wendy Estrella, have worked together to address.
"The matter was amicably resolved between the parties," the statement reads.
“Things will never be the same for the Figueroa family, but today is an important step forward on a long road towards healing. The Figueroas continue to rely on their faith in God for strength and would like to thank everyone who has supported them throughout this very difficult time,” De La Cruz said in the statement.
Joe Hamrock, CEO and President of NiSource, recognized the event as tragic in the statement.
“We know that what happened on September 13 was absolutely tragic, and that many residents will live with the consequences for the rest of their lives," he said. "Our hearts go out to the Figueroa family and the entire community. We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution of this matter.”
A complete report will appear in Wednesday's print edition of The Eagle-Tribune and online at eagletribune.com.