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Propane Tank Involved in Deadly Norfolk Construction Blast May Have been Lacking Chemical Odorant

According to the Boston wrongful death lawyer of William Nichols’ family, the propane tank that exploded to cause his fatal Norfolk, Massachusetts construction accident last summer did not have ethyl mercaptan, a chemical odorant used to warn when there is a propane leak. Nichols, a 48-year-old Blackstone electrician, was working on the air conditioning and heading system of a duplex under construction on July 30 when the tank explosion occurred. He ended up buried in debris for over 90 minutes.

Nichols’s family reportedly plans to file Boston wrongful death complaints against Smolinksy Brothers Plumbing and Heating Service, the company that installed the heating system and EnergyUSA, which was responsible for installing the gas tank. The reports, issued by State Police and the state fire marshall, appear to clear DCP Midstream LLC, which delivered the gas.

Injured in the Norfolk propane blast were 72-year-old Foxboro resident David Bethel and 43-year-old Franklin local Robert Dena, who were both working for Deno Electric, Inc., 25-year-old Norfolk resident and Prevett Heating and Cooling employee William Prevett, 17-year-old Wrentham resident Thomas DiPlacido, and 58-year-old Norfolk local Mary Jackson, who lived in the adjacent condo. Firefighters John Zajac and David Payne were also injured.

Boston Construction Accidents
While employees generally cannot sue their employers for Boston personal injury or wrongful death, they are likely entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation for their work-related injuries, illness, or death. However, they can still file civil complaints against third parties that are not their employer who may have contributed to causing their Boston construction accident.

Rescued worker at Norfolk condo explosion dies, NECN, July 31, 2010
Propane tank in fatal blast lost telltale chemical, lawyer says, Boston.com, December 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Ethyl mercaptan, OSHA
Construction Accidents, Justia
Labor and Workforce Development, Mass.gov
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog