BOSTON (AP/WBZ-AM) -- The family of a man who died in the aftermath of the Sept. 13 natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the utility involved in the disaster.
The lawyer representing the estate of Kenneth Deveau tells The Boston Globe the 57-year-old North Andover man, who had numerous health problems, suffered cardiac arrest one day after being taken to an evacuation center. He died later that month.
Attorney Marc Breakstone, who represents Deveau's estate, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker the family blames DeVeau's death on the stress and confusion surrounding the evacuation.
"He slipped into a coma on September 14 and remained in a coma until his death on September 26," Breakstone said. "We will be seeking compensatory and punitive damages for gross negligence against Columbia Gas and its parent company ... this was a preventable tragedy that rises to the level of reckless disregard for the safety of the residents of Merrimack Valley.
Breakstone said Deveau's sister must be appointed first as the personal representative to his estate before the suit is filed--and that could take several months. He said Deveau's sister wanted him to go to a hospital.
"She didn't feel that he, due to his neurological condition and his fragile health, could handle an evacuation center," he said.
A spokesman for Columbia Gas said its "hearts go out to the family," but could not comment on pending litigation.
The family of a Lawrence teen who was killed when a house exploded has also announced plans to file a wrongful death suit against Columbia Gas.
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WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports