One of the victims in the Sept. 6 home explosion at 727 Wells St. will likely have a long road to recovery after suffering severe burns in the blast.
Fire investigators with the Morgantown Fire Department said Wednesday the official cause of the explosion is still under investigation; however, firefighters and other emergency personnel on scene Sept. 6 believed the cause might have been a gas leak in the home that ignited when one of the residents attempted to light a candle.
All four residents of the house, Carly Grozier, Maddie Granger, Emma Dodson and Meghan Harris made it out of the structure alive, but Grozier was exposed to the full force of the explosion.
Grozier, a West Virginia University student from Bethlehem, Pa., was air-lifted to an intensive care burn unit at an undisclosed hospital in Pittsburgh. She suffered third-degree burns on 50% of her body. It has been 15 days since the incident and she still remains in the ICU.
The Dominion Post spoke with Grozier’s attorney Michael Budner of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Bendesky Trial Lawyers in Philadelphia, who hesitantly said Grozier’s condition was improving, but added that she remains heavily sedated and is “by no means out of the woods.”
She is expected to remain in the hospital for the foreseeable future and will likely need to have several surgeries to repair the burned areas.
In the meantime, two GoFundMe fundraisers have been collecting donations to aid Grozier with her hospital bills. As of Wednesday afternoon, the combined total of the two fundraisers, one titled “Carly Grozier Medical Bills” and the second titled “Carly Grozier 727 Wells Explosion,” had exceeded $28,000.
Budner said they will be working to schedule a home inspection with insurance companies as well as the fire marshal’s office and other potential players in the case for “what is likely to be a litigation.”
“We’re eager to get justice for these families and, you know, more importantly find out what happened in this tragic explosion and to ensure that explosions and incidents like this don’t happen to others,” Budner said. “That’s our goal here and we are going to keep moving forward to get justice for the family.”
No legal action in the case has been officially filed in court at this time.
Following the explosion, crews with Hope Gas surveyed the remainder of Wells Street as well as adjacent streets and did not discover any leaks in the main line. Officials with the gas company said a few minor non-hazardous leaks on service lines were found while performing their review of the area and out of an abundance of caution placed them on an expedited schedule for repairs.
Hope Gas officials remind residents that natural gas is odorless, and an odorant is added so homeowners can detect leaks. The odorant is described as having a sulfur-like smell often compared to a rotten egg.
Any time a gas odor is detected, residents should call the Hope Gas emergency number at 1-800-934-3187 immediately to report it, so crews can be sent to investigate.