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Pazzazz Kennels sues gas company over explosion

Published March 10. 2011 05:00PM

The owners of a dog kennel destroyed by a fire that resulted from a propane gas explosion has filed a multiple count suit in Carbon County Court seeking damages against the gas company and an employee.

Karen Tracy and Jean Ahner, operators of the Pazzazz Kennel, 459 Pohopoco Drive, Lehighton, filed the suit this week.

Named defendants in the suit were Amerigas Propane, of 460 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia, Montgomery County; employee Timothy Kleinhagen, of 425 W. Iron St., Summit Hill; and another Amerigas location at 2525 N. 12th St., Reading.

The suit states on March 6, 2009, Kleinhagen was at the kennel to replenish fuel for the plaintiffs' business and residence. He was filling a propane tank when he released a large quantity of gas into the air. An ignition source came into contact with the propane and caused a "flash fire and/or explosion, the force of which ignited and burned the residential and business property."

The suit states the resulting fire destroyed both business and personal property and caused many dogs to be killed or severely injured.

Kleinhagen sustained serious injuries in the explosion and fire and was hospitalized for severe burns.

The suit states that Tracy and Ahner continue to take many canines to animal hospitals for medical treatment.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs' damages include the loss of the house and kennel contents, including pet animals, which forced them to relocate.

The suit charges, "Solely due to the actions and/or inactions of the defendants, the plaintiffs, Jean Ahner and Karen Tracy, have been obligated to expend various sums of money for medicine and medical attention, in and about endeavoring to treat their animals and animals entrusted to their business."

Negligence, carelessness and recklessness for the incident is alleged and listed are 25 alleged actions or inactions by the defendants that led to the destruction. Included in the allegations are such matters as the installation of the tank caused or was likely to cause a leak of propane fuels; failing to conduct adequate tests and inspections of the tank; failing to develop a program of adequate tests; failing to correct the defective leaking; and numerous other items including violating state regulations governing propane.

The suit also listed the following damages:

To the kennel structure and contents to date $212,338.86; veterinary bills to date $31,812.46; boarding animals to date $9,100; business personal property $28,931.83; business economic loss of $356,000; and clean up expense of $3,000 for a grand total of $641,183.15.

Also, the suit charges Ahner suffered $11,602.71 for property damage to a home and forced her to relocate her residence.

The three count suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 on each count, two for negligence and the third for punitive damages.

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