DALLAS - The family of the girl who was killed when her home in northwest Dallas exploded last month is suing Atmos Energy.
Michellita Rogers’ family said Atmos should have known its pipeline system was dangerous. They’re blaming the company for failing to act before it was too late.
Rogers, 12, was killed when her home on Espanola Drive exploded on Feb. 23. Some of her family members were also hurt in the blast.
The family’s lawyer described a patchwork system of mismatched pipes near the house as being like a “mismatched Frankensteinian array" of pipes.
"These people lost their daughter, she was blown across the house, and out into the yard and hit a fence,' said attorney Ted Lyon.
The suit filed Thursday claims Atmos acted with gross negligence because it failed to repair dangerous leaks to its pipeline system even though the utility company knew about the leaks in the neighborhood in January.
Rogers’ mother even called Atmos three days before the explosion to report smelling gas in the alleyway behind their home. Atmos dismissed the report and reports of two other gas-related fires in the neighborhood.
The company “continued pushing explosive gas from the leaks at an increased pressure, the lawsuit claims.
The family is seeking more than $1 million for Rogers’ death and their injuries.
"They have a duty to fix this, and they can pass it on to their customers. But they have failed to do that for years and years and years. Not just one year, not just two years, but years and years and years," Lyon said.
Atmos blamed heavy rain and what it called unusual soil composition for damaging the gas lines. The company has not yet commented on the lawsuit.
A week after the blast, Atmos cut natural gas service to nearly 3,000 homes in the area. It replaced and repaired more than two miles of aging pipeline.