Florida Homeowners File Class Action Seeking Removal of Dangerous Gas Tubing

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Less than two months after a home with Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (“CSST”) was destroyed by a lightning strike and fire, Whitfield Bryson & Mason, LLP, has filed a class action on behalf of Florida homeowners in the same Venetian Bay community against the manufacturer of the CSST found in that home.

Less than two months after a home with Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (“CSST”) was destroyed by a lightning strike and fire, Florida homeowners in the same Venetian Bay community have filed a class action against the manufacturer of the CSST found in that home.

The April 2013 preliminary investigation report suggests that the CSST was a cause of the gas-fueled fire which completely destroyed the house in New Smyrna Beach in April. According to the owner of the home, Joseph Bellissimo, the investigators found five holes in a section of CSST running from a propane tank adjacent to his house to a gas oven on his patio. Bellissimo and his family were not at the house at the time of the fire.

CSST is a yellow metal tubing that is used to supply natural gas or propane to appliances. It has been in widespread use since the late 1990's. An April 2011 report done by The Fire Protection Research Foundation, "Validation of Installation Methods for CSST Gas Piping to Mitigate Lightning Related Damage," found that this type of tubing creates a risk of fire from an electrical arc when lightning strikes the tubing.

According to Chris Swonger, a representative of Gastite, up to 8 million homes in the country are at risk.

According to Gary E. Mason, the attorney representing the Venetian Bay homeowners, thousands of homes throughout the state of Florida have CSST which has not been properly bonded and is at risk of puncture and ignition due to lightning strikes. “Experts do not agree that bonding will completely eliminate the risk of arcing,” said Mason. “The only sure way to completely eliminate the risk is to replace the CSST with iron pipe.”

Iron pipe has been used to supply natural gas and propane to homes for decades without incident.

In addition to Mason and his firm, Whitfield Bryson & Mason, LLP, the homeowners are represented by Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group, Aaron Rihn, Robert Pierce & Associates and Charles J. LaDuca, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca.

The case is Phillip Hall v. Omega Flex, Inc., Case No. 0:13-cv-61213 (S.D. Fla).

For more information, please visit http://www.csstinfo.com or contact Gary E. Mason at (202) 640-1160 or by email at gmason(at)wbmllp(dot)com.

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Gary Mason

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