Teenage welder sparks fire and lawsuit

Kelly Holleran Oct. 19, 2009, 9:23am

A Jefferson County man is suing two Nome residents over allegations that he was severely burned in an explosion.

James Anderson is suing Virgil and Rodney Martel after a vessel Kevin Martel was welding exploded, according to the complaint filed Oct. 15 in Jefferson County District Court.

Anderson claims he was performing yard work at the Martels' property on June 23 when he heard activity emanating from a structure on the property.

Deciding to investigate the sound, Anderson entered the structure and began speaking with Kevin Martel, a 15-year-old relative of Virgil and Rodney Martel. At the time, Kevin Martel was welding a handle onto a vessel that was donated to Virgil and Rodney Martel, according to the complaint.

The vessel had previously contained diesel or some other fuel and was not properly cleaned and not prepared for welding, the suit states.

"Plaintiff alleges that the vessel exploded and that such explosion was a proximate cause of catastrophic injuries to the Plaintiff," the complaint says.

Because of the explosion, Anderson sustained severe physical injuries, suffered extreme physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, scarring, physical impairment and loss of household services, which are bound to continue, he claims.

In addition, he incurred lost wages and medical costs, according to the complaint.

In his lawsuit, Anderson is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest rate allowed by law, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

Tommy L. Yeates and Anthony Malley III of Moore Landrey in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E185-134.

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