Saturday, February 21, 2004

Family sues utility, contractor over fire after power failure

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Lexington family whose house caught fire when power was restored after an ice storm last year has sued Kentucky Utilities and a contractor for negligence.

In the lawsuit, Sydney and Devin Cohan said that Gardco Improvements improperly installed an electrical meter box after the original one was destroyed during the February 2003 storm.

KU then re-energized the house before an electrical inspector could sign off on the repairs, the lawsuit said.

Out of the four fires that resulted from power restoration, the Cohans' case is at least the second that has gone to court.

Laura Douglas, spokeswoman for Louisville Gas and Electric, KU's parent company, declined to comment on the case.

Gardco owner William Joseph Gardner of Henry Clay Boulevard could not be reached for comment.

The Cohans' insurer, Shelter Insurance Co., is seeking to recoup at least $248,823, the amount it paid to the Cohans for damaged property.

The state's Public Service Commission, which investigated KU's response to the storm, did not find the utility at fault for the fires.

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Family sues utility, contractor over fire after power failure