Just Ask Gonzo: Home explosion case awaits outcome of venue transfer motion

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 23, 2006, 4:57pm

I was interested in an update in the case where that poor family lost their baby after their house exploded due to a gas leak.

Grant Vallina
Abington, Ill.

Gonzo: Right now the matter is awaiting a hearing on whether Madison County is the proper venue.

An explosion in Todd and Christine O'Halleran's Abington, Ill. house that killed their infant child and injured three others, prompted them to file a wrongful death suit in Madison County Circuit Court Sept. 27 against Ameren IP and TMI Home Warranty.

According to the complaint, Christine detected a gas odor in their residence on Oct. 11, 2003, and while investigating the odor, found a cap that had come off the natural gas line in the basement.

"While Christine was in the basement, the natural gas ignited, causing an immediate and violent explosion and fire that resulted in serious physical injuries to Todd and Christine, and their three minor children, Cody, Kailie, Kieanna, as well as the death of their infant child, Tanner," the complaint states.

The O'Hallerans claim the blast blew Kieanna out of the basement and onto a neighbor's roof. Cody and his infant brother, Tanner, who died, were found in the basement rubble. Kailie was rescued from the debris two hours later.

They are represented by Kevin Babb of Edwardsville, James Frickleton of Leawood, Kan. and Tim Dollar of Kansas City.

On Nov. 30, 2005, Ameren's attorney, Gordon Broom of Edwardsville, filed a motion to transfer the case to Mercer County, the site of the accident.

On Dec. 9, Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron granted the O'Halleran's request to continue the case for 90 days while they conduct discovery.

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