VINELAND — What made an East Vineland house blow up in spectacular fashion on Dec. 15, 2021 is answered by the family’s insurance company in a lawsuit it recently filed against a Whippany fuel company.
The explosion at the home of Jonathan and Marisol Defrancis at 3791 Cornucopia Avenue happened around noon on a Wednesday and without warning. Boiler Thermocouple
The seven-page lawsuit puts blame on an unnamed deliveryman for Suburban Propane, which had an automatic-fill contract with the family
According to the lawsuit, the employee went to the home to replenish the tank and opened a valve on it, but without telling the owner.
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The complaint states the problem was that valve had been deliberately closed two months earlier, when the family replaced a propane stove with a natural gas stove.
Due to the deliveryman's error, the suit says, propane gas flowed unnoticed into the basement.
“Within three or four hours of the gas delivery, the leaking … gas exploded and destroyed the Defrancis’ house and its contents,” the complaint claims.
First responders found two women injured outside in a debris field. A fire took close to an hour to get under control.
USAA General Indemnity Company has settled with the family. Now, the insurer wants almost $404,000, plus interest and legal costs, from Suburban Propane.
Attorney Matthew Noone, who represents the insurance company, declined comment on Monday.
A Suburban Propane spokeswoman also did not comment.
The lawsuit was filed Feb. 2 in Cumberland County Superior Court.
Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey more than 30 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.
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