Attorney General Fines Le Mars Construction Company $20,000
(Le Mars) -- Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska has filed a lawsuit against the DeRocher Construction Company of Le Mars for the gas line rupture that occured east of Hinton last April. The lawsuit was filed at the U-S District Court in Sioux City. The accident occurred when two employees of the DeRocher Construction were trenching for a tile line and had hit the underground 24-inch gas line producing an explosion and a fireball that could be seen for miles. Two people were injured during that explosion. Northern Natural Gas is seeking $439,273 in compensation for what it says is for emergency response, inspection and repair, labor, equipment usage, gas loss, and third-party contractor costs while repairs were made. Northern Natural Gas claims that the DeRocher Construction Company did not call Iowa One-Call, a utility locater hotline prior to their trenching work.
Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller held a news conference this morning regarding the incident, after completing an investigation. Miller is assessing the maximum fine upon Patrick and Cynthia DeRocher and DeRocher Construction for failing to provide a 48 hour notice of excavation. One week after the initial explosion, it was determined the DeRocher Construction Company again conducted excavations to install drainage tile within a quarter mile from the same pipelines, and again failed to provide 48 hour notice of the excavation. Attorney General Miller has fined the DeRochers a civil penalty of $20,000.
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