Lawsuit filed over trash truck explosion, third-degree burns

By Nicholas Malfitano | Mar 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A man who suffered third-degree burns from a trash truck’s natural gas system is suing companies he believes are liable for causing the explosion that catastrophically injured him.

Jerry Ayala-Santiago of Reading filed suit on Feb. 14 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Republic Services, Inc. of Philadelphia, Motion Industries, Inc. of Sharon Hill, Agility Fuel Solutions, LLC and Agility Fuel Solutions Holdings, Inc. of Wilmington, Del., Mack Trucks, Inc. of Macungie and The Heil Co. of Chattanooga, Tenn.

“On June 22, 2016, [Jerry] Ayala-Santiago was at work, getting ready to wash a Republic Services trash truck, when he was severely burned as a result of a violent explosion that was caused by a failure of a component part of the compressed natural gas system attached to the truck. As a result of the fire, Mr. Ayala-Santiago suffered third-degree burns to his face, arms and lower extremities. The escaping fugitive gas that caused the explosion was the result of a product failure and created an unreasonably dangerous condition for those who came into contact with the trash truck,” the lawsuit says.

“As fully developed herein, defendants were aware of the deficiency in the product prior to the explosion, yet failed to properly design, manufacture, maintain, inspect, or replace the hose that permitted the fugitive gas to escape. Defendants also failed to warn those using the product of the danger posed. The defendants’ outrageous failures, as set forth herein, were a factual cause of the severe and permanent injuries suffered by [Jerry] Ayala-Santiago,” the suit continues.

The plaintiff says the defendants caused his injuries, of “serious, severe and disabling injuries including, but not limited to, serious burns, scarring, incapacity, psychiatric and emotional injuries, and other injuries the full extent of which are not yet known, and some or all of which may be permanent in nature.”

For multiple counts of intentional misrepresentation, negligence, strict liability, the plaintiffs are seeking damages, jointly and severally, compensatory and punitive damages in excess of the arbitration limits in effect in Philadelphia County at the time this cause of action was commenced.

The plaintiff is represented by Steven G. Wigrizer and Jason S. Weiss of Wapner Newman Wigrizer Brecher & Miller, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170203845

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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