Family Of Teen Killed In Columbia Gas Explosions Reaches Settlement

Leonel Rondon

Leonel Rondon. (Facebook.com)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The family of the teen killed in last September's Columbia Gas explosions has come to a settlement with the company.

Leonel Rondon, 18, was killed in the driveway of a friend's home when a chimney that was blown off the house by a gas explosion fell on his SUV.

The amount of the settlement, which was announced Tuesday, must remain confidential as part of the terms of the agreement.

In a statement, Rondon family attorney Doug Sheff said Rondon was a loving son with an interest in science, a passion for music, and a dream of going to college.

"The family can only hope that this kind of catastrophe will never happen again," Sheff's statement read. "Nothing can replace the loss of Leonel and the Rondons will continue to cherish his memory, his loving support and positive impact on his family and community."

Sheff said Sheff Law would establish a scholarship fund "designed to encourage an ongoing interest in public safety and community service."

Joe Hamrock, the CEO and President of Columbia Gas's parent company NiSource Inc., said his company is heartbroken over Rondon's loss.

“We recognize the pain that remains and understand that nothing we can ever say or do will bring Leonel back to his loved ones or erase that pain," Hamrock said in the statement. "Since this tragic event, we have always wanted to do the right thing for the Rondon family and all of those affected, and we are pleased to have reached this settlement. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Rondon family to honor Leonel through a scholarship fund, and we will continue to honor his memory."

Independent of the settlement, Columbia Gas will work with the Rondon family to set up a scholarship in Leonel's name.

Back in April, Columbia Gas settled a negligence lawsuit from the Figueroa family, whose driveway Rondon was in when he died. Shakira Figueroa, 21, had severe injuries, and two of her family members were hurt.

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