Friday, June 03, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Exploding toilet leads to lawsuit

Associated Press in Morgantown
Saturday June 4, 2005
The Guardian

A man who says he was severely burned when a portable toilet exploded after he sat down and lit a cigarette is suing a general contractor and a coal company, accusing them of negligence.

John Jenkins, 53, and his wife, Ramona, 35, of Brave, Pennsylvania, are seeking $10m (£6m) in damages from Chisler Inc and Eastern Associated Coal.

The lawsuit claims Mr Jenkins's face, neck, arms, torso and legs were severely burned last July after the cigarette ignited methane gas leaking from a pipe underneath the toilet unit.

"When I struck the lighter, the whole thing just detonated - the whole top blew off," said Mr Jenkins, a methane power plant operator with North West Fuels Development. "I can't tell you if it blew me out the door or if I jumped out."

Eastern Associated owns the property where the explosion occurred.

Mr Jenkins alleges that heavy equipment from Chisler ran over the pipelines before the explosion, causing the methane gas leak.

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