A large explosion occurred early today in Salem, New York, a small town located approximately 50 miles north of Albany. According to witnesses, a two story house was destroyed. Debris from the blast, including cinderblocks, was found more than 50 yards away. Neighbors reported hearing the blast for miles. The explosion caused the death of 5 people, and injured 6 others.
“We have been retained throughout the State of New York to investigate explosions like this one, and to determine the cause of other catastrophic events such as a building or bridge collapse,” said Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, of Bottar Leone, PLLC. “Typically, we try to get to the scene as soon as possible so that we can take pictures and have one or more experts we work with conduct an investigation. Often, our own investigation runs parallel to fire or police department investigations. Sometimes, our experts uncover evidence missed by the authorities.”
According to Syracuse.com, area police suspect that a propane leak may have caused the explosion. Propane is a three-carbon alkane, usually a gas, that is heavier than air. The “weight” of propane causes it to sink into low-lying enclosed spaces. This creates the potential for an explosion. If propane caused the Salem explosion, there are a number of entitles that could be liable for the injury and wrongful death of nearly a dozen New Yorkers, e.g., the manufacturer of the propane tank, the company that installed propane tank and/or the company that fills the propane tank. In addition, if the people involved were renting the house, the owner of the home could be liable for damages. In certain circumstances, town and county municipalities may also be liable for an explosion, or structural failure, if one or both improperly issued a building permit or certificate of occupancy. “It’s too early to tell,” Bottar added.