Galveston loft fire blamed on faulty wiring, electrician sued

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 1, 2009, 5:00am

GALVESTON – A Galveston loft rental and management company seeks $125,000 from two McLennan County laborers after an electrical fire gutted its building last year, recent court documents say.

The Peanut Butter Warehouse Lofts' warranty lawsuit against Steve Wade and David Eubanks accuses the men, who are doing business as WE Electric, of improperly installing the namesake dwelling's electrical system, which reportedly short circuited and ignited the blaze.

The suit was filed Sept. 23 in Galveston County District Court.

According to the original petition, on Dec. 12, 2008, improperly tightened connectors in a wireway located toward the rear of the Peanut Butter Warehouse overloaded.

"The Peanut Butter Warehouse caught fire," the complaint says. "The heat and the smoke from the fire damaged and destroyed portions of the building."

It indicates the defendants performed the controversial electrical work shortly after Hurricane Ike.

"The defendants owed a duty of reasonably prudent care with respect to the repair and installation of the electrical system at the Peanut Butter Warehouse," the suit says.

"The defendants breached this duty by failing to act as a reasonably prudent person, electrical contractor, and/or certified electrician would have under the same or similar circumstances."

WE Electric is faulted for failing to properly tighten electrical connections, inspect repairs to the electrical system, select appropriate equipment or materials, and use reasonable care under the circumstances.

In addition to monetary compensation, Peanut Butter Warehouse Loft demands a jury trial.

Houston attorneys William T. Sebesta and Randall J. Poelma are representing the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox.

Case No. 09CV1732

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