Family of burned Tarrant County girl wants Atmos to accept blame for explosion

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 11:23 PM

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- It was less than two weeks ago that an explosion tore apart a North Richland Hills home.

Little Maya Javier was seriously burned when she simply turned on a bathroom light.

Now, Maya is out of the hospital and for the first time her mother is talking and reacting to a report blaming Atmos Energy for the explosion. And Thursday night, the family said Atmos Energy needs to accept responsibility.

Atmos Energy crews were in front of the destroyed home Thursay afternoon, still trying to dissipate pockets trapped gas. The gas had escaped from a six-inch main along Harwood Road in North Richland Hills.

On Dec. 21, five children and two adults were inside a home, fifty feet from the leak. They say they never smelled a thing.

When eight-year-old Maya Javier went to turn on a bathroom light, the house exploded. She suffered burns on her face, arms, and back. And while she is home from the hospital, according to her mother, her trauma endures.

"She's in pain 24/7,” said Christina Reinoshek, Maya’s mother. “I can't just hug her and tell her it will be OK. I actually have to sit back and watch her in pain every day."

What also hurts, she said, is what investigators with the Railroad Commission of Texas have put in writing about what caused the explosion.

According to the report obtained by News 8 the "...preliminary investigation points to the direction of a natural gas leak from a failed fusion on a 6-inch polyethylene main."

Maya's uncle, Marvin Reinoshek, owns the home that exploded and was inside at the time. When we showed him the state's report, he said he was surprised Atmos has yet to accept responsibility.

"I don't understand why they can't tell me the truth about what caused it,” Reinoshek said. “On top of that, I don't understand how they don't know that. How do they not know their gas main was leaking gas?"

“The investigation is ongoing and we will submit a report to the RRC when that is completed," said Atmos Energy spokesperson Jennifer Ryan. "As always, Atmos Energy reminds anyone who smells natural gas to leave the area immediately and from a safe distance call 911."

The family says they were told Atmos found a second gas leak in front of the home.

Both leaks were repaired, but the question from the family is, how could a potentially lethal gas leak go undetected?

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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