Attorney for family whose home exploded: ‘Why weren’t they evacuated?”

Attorney for family whose home exploded: ‘Why weren’t they evacuated?”
Attorney CJ Czaia holds press conference outside site of house explosion (Source: WWSB)

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - The attorney for a family in Bradenton whose house exploded following a gas leak held a press conference to demand answers of TECO Energy and local law enforcement. Namely, he wants to know why homes in the area weren’t evacuated following a gas leak.

Viewer video captured the immediate aftermath of the blast. An attorney for the family says that Adrian Lopez, Sr. and Adrian Lopez, Jr. were both hurt. Lopez, Jr. 23, is in a coma and Lopez, Sr. suffered severe burns. A responding firefighter was also injured.

First responders say they did advise all residents to evacuate after they learned of the leak Thursday morning.

Francisca Lopez, the mother of the home, was also treated for a possible stroke following the incident. Before her hospitalization, she spoke with ABC7.

“My husband asked what was going on during the situation, they didn’t say anything for them to exit the house,” said Lopez. “So they didn’t know what was going on, so eventually it just ended up surprising them and shocking them with the explosion.”

Attorney CJ Czaia refrained from placing blame on a specific party, but pondered whether a language barrier had to do with the lack of evacuations. He also said no one helped the two men out of the home.

“This could’ve totally been avoided,” said Czaia.

You can watch the entire press conference here:

A GoFundMe page has been established to help with medical costs.

Peoples Gas worked closely with the fire department to respond to the reports of the smell of natural gas near an excavation site in Bradenton mid-day yesterday.

While crews and representatives from the fire department were working in the area to locate the source of the natural gas odor and make the excavation area safe, the explosion occurred at a residence.

The incident is under investigation and we are cooperating with local fire department officials, who are leading the investigation.

Sylvia Vega, Spokesperson for TECO Peoples Gas, sent a statement that reads:

“Peoples Gas worked closely with the fire department to respond to the reports of the smell of natural gas near an excavation site in Bradenton mid-day yesterday. While crews and representatives from the fire department were working in the area to locate the source of the natural gas odor and make the excavation area safe, the explosion occurred at a residence. The incident is under investigation and we are cooperating with local fire department officials, who are leading the investigation.”

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