Wrongful death suit filed in Carlinville home explosion

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 21, 2006, 7:46am

Tammy Pocklington filed an eight-count wrongful death suit against Ameren IP and Area Heating and Air Conditioning on behalf of three people killed when their house exploded in Carlinville on Aug. 2.

Margaret Hatlen, 55, her son Coady Hatlen, 15, and grandson Michael Albracht, 9, were killed when an explosion caused by a natural gas leak leveled their one story home at 203 Sue Street.

According to the complaint filed by Jon Rosenstengel of Belleville in Madison County Circuit Court Aug. 15, Ameren IP provided natural gas, electric and other services to the house.

Pocklington claims Ameren IP failed to properly inspect its natural gas service to the house to prevent leaks, failed to properly odorize its natural gas, failed to warn of the dangers of natural gas and associated natural gas fittings and ran natural gas at an excessive amount of pressure through the gas lines of the house.

She claims Area Heating and Air Conditioning failed to properly install a water heater at the residence, failed to warn of the dangers of the installation and failed to properly inspect gas appliances within the house.

Pocklington claims family members have been permanently deprived of money, goods, services and society of the three deceased.

Tommy Hatlen, 27, the only survivor of the explosion also is seeking damages from the defendants claiming he has incurred medical bills and will continue to incur medical bills as a result of his injuries.

Tommy suffered burns over 30 percent of his body and was released from Memorial Medical Center in Springfield on Aug. 8, the complaint states.

He also claims he has lost income in the past and will continue to lose income, suffered and will continue to suffer pain, emotional distress and loss of a normal life.

Pocklington and Hatlen are seeking damages in excess of $400,000, plus all costs of the suit.

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