Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Heaven’s, FESCO face fire lawsuit

Published:Friday | July 2, 2021 | 12:12 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter
The Heaven’s FESCO service station that went up in flames in February 2020.
The Heaven’s FESCO service station that went up in flames in February 2020.

A Manchester tiler who was among 11 persons injured in the deadly explosion at the Heaven’s FESCO service station in Mandeville, Manchester, in February 2020, is suing the operators and parent company Future Energy Source Company (FESCO) for...

A Manchester tiler who was among 11 persons injured in the deadly explosion at the Heaven’s FESCO service station in Mandeville, Manchester, in February 2020, is suing the operators and parent company Future Energy Source Company (FESCO) for negligence and breach of the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

The 43-year-old claimant, Noel Williams, who suffered burns to both ankles and his right elbow and is still undergoing medical treatment, is also seeking to recover more than $2 million in special damages. This includes his Isuzu 1998 pickup truck, which was among 14 vehicles that were damaged in the blaze, loss of earnings, and transportation.

The suit also signalled that Williams would require follow-up care, including plastic surgery and further assessment, and would be seeking to recover those costs as well.

In the tragic incident which unfolded on February 21, about 5:45 p.m., the service station was damaged by fire after a loud explosion.

Daniel Farquharson, 52, succumbed to his injuries.

The fire reportedly started after two petrol dispensers, which had developed mechanical problems, started overflowing while being repaired.

Williams, who had allegedly driven his truck to the service station, was waiting to purchase petrol when the incident occurred.

According to the claimant, Heaven’s FESCO, the first defendant, “negligently caused or permitted to cause repairs to be carried out to the pump stations, allowing gasolene to escape from the said pump stations at the said petrol station resulting in fire and explosion”.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, June 29.

Among the grounds listed for the company’s alleged negligence is failing to take reasonable and effective care – whether by inspection, examination, maintenance or otherwise – of the two defective pump stations to mitigate the risk of fire.

The claimant argued that it was unsafe to have allowed the repairs to be done while customers were purchasing petrol.

The grounds for the breach of the Occupiers’ Liabilities Act include failing to warn the claimant of the dangers of the defective pumps and to ensure that there was no risk of fire, maintaining the petrol pump stations in an unsafe and dangerous condition, and failing to erect signs or give any notice or adequate notice or warning that the premises was unsafe and dangerous and unfit to conduct business.

Attorney-at-law Ashford Meikle, who is representing Williams, said he was confident of success.

“I think we have a very strong case against both the first and second defendant. The danger speaks for itself,” Meikle told The Gleaner late Thursday.