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Residents sue Atmos over 2018 home explosion in northwest Dallas

The lawsuit alleged that Atmos "does not maintain its system as required" by state safety regulations, leading to more than 4,000 pipeline leaks.
Credit: WFAA
David Lemus' home on Durango Drive in northwest Dallas.

Two Dallas residents who lived at a home that exploded in northwest Dallas last year have sued Atmos Energy, accusing the natural-gas provider of failing to maintain its aging gas lines.

David Lemus and Edith Gonzalez, who lived at a home in the 3500 block of Durango Drive when an explosion happened on Feb. 21, 2018, filed the lawsuit in Dallas County last month.

Two days after the explosion at their home, an explosion at a home on nearby Espanola Drive killed a 12-year-old girl, Linda Rogers.

In the explosion on Durango Drive, Lemus heard a popping sound coming from the attic, the lawsuit said. When he climbed into the attic to check, the explosion near the HVAC unit knocked him several yards backward and burned him on his face and upper torso.

The fire also destroyed "virtually all of the property" in the home, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which is seeking more than $1 million, alleged that gas leaked from an Atmos line and seeped into their home and attic, "accumulating to an explosive level."

The lawsuit also alleged that Atmos "does not maintain its system as required" by state safety regulations, leading to more than 4,000 pipeline leaks in Dallas.

"These leaks form from a combination of mechanical and corrosion damage that Atmos is duty-bound at all times to prevent," the lawsuit said. "The regulations do not merely address the requirement to repair pipes; the regulations require operation that prevent the leaks."

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the explosions from last February. Atmos on Monday declined to comment on the lawsuit.

"We continue to work with the NTSB and our safety regulators on their ongoing investigation," the company said in a statement. "Any additional questions regarding this can be directed to the NTSB."

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RELATED: NTSB: Atmos knew of leaks in neighborhood for almost two months before fatal explosion

RELATED: Archive: WFAA investigations into Atmos gas leaks date back a decade

RELATED: TIMELINE: Gas leaks, explosions and Atmos' response in Northwest Dallas

Atmos has been working to repair and replace over 100 miles of aging natural-gas pipelines throughout Dallas.

The company last year said it would need five years to replace the lines and that it would cost about $5 billion.

Starting last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which joined the NTSB investigation, began collecting soil samples from the neighborhood where the explosions happened.

The soil testing is the last major task left undone in the investigation into what happened in the days leading up to the Feb. 23, 2018, explosion that killed Rogers.

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