The sole survivor of a Robinson, Ill. man who died from burns after his apartment exploded and caught fire May 29, 2007, is suing the apartment's owners, managers and AmerenCIPS in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Tammy Wood, individually and as administrator of her father Harry L. Yargus's estate, filed suit against A.J. Mason, Inc., Rena A. Smith, Heritage Corp., Five Star Management Inc. and Central Illinois Public Service Co., doing business as AmerenCIPS, on Jan. 22.

Wood, of Warrenton, Mo., claims the apartment owners and managers were negligent for allowing a copper gas line within the apartments to be "pinched off" rather than safely capped. She also claims the defendants failed to provide maintenance, care and upkeep of the premises, failed to inspect the premises for fire safety and allowed occupancy of premises when it was not reasonably safe to do so.

According to the complaint, Yargus, 62, died June 1, 2007.

Seeking in excess of $800,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, Wood is represented by Jarrod P. Beasley of the Kuehn Law Firm in Belleville and Christopher K. Snow of Warden Triplett Grier in Overland Park, Kan.

Wood claims that the maintenance, care and upkeep of the premises is an activity that, "if conducted properly, should not result in this type of explosion unless there was negligent maintenance, care and upkeep..."

She claims AmerenCIPS failed to introduce into the gas, as required, a malodorant agent "of such character as to indicate by a distinctive odor readily perceptible to a person of normal or average olfactory senses going from fresh air into a closed room or space."

"The failure of the defendant (AmerenCIPS) to comply with such order was negligence per se which was a proximate cause of plaintiff's damages as stated," the complaint states.

Wood claims that "the manufacture and distribution of natural gas is such an activity that, if conducted properly, should result in no injury unless there was negligent construction, inspection or transportation of the facilities or the gas."

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