Home explodes after man buys gasoline labeled as kerosene

Kelly Holleran Oct. 29, 2009, 4:00am

A Belleville man and woman have filed suit against Circle K and one of its managers, saying their house exploded after they attempted to light a heater they believed to be filled with kerosene, but which actually contained gas.

Robert and Jennifer Haas claim Robert Haas filled two kerosene heater fuel tanks with liquid he had purchased from a pump labeled "Kerosene" at a Circle K convenience store on Feb. 11.

On Feb. 16, Robert Haas attached a kerosene heater to one of the fuel tanks and lit the heater, according to the complaint filed Oct. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"That on or about February 16, 2009, the home of Robert and Jennifer Haas was destroyed by a fire and explosion," the suit states. "This resulted from the kerosene heater tank being filled with gasoline that was introduced into the wrong storage tank at Circle K and sold as kerosene."

Because of the fire and explosion, the Haases suffered permanent pain, mental anguish, disability and disfigurement, incurred medical costs and have been permanently deprived from attending to their usual duties, the complaint says. In addition, the couple says they lost wages.

Both have also been deprived of each others' love, companionship, consortium, support and services to which they were entitled, according to the complaint.

In addition to Circle K, the Haases name Circle K Manager Gail Pierce as a defendant.

In the 10-count suit, the Haases are seeking a judgment of more than $750,000, plus costs.

Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. of Belleville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-567.

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