ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A settlement has been reached a little more than two years after a massive boiler explosion killed four people in Soulard.
On April 3, 2017, a large industrial boiler exploded at the Loy-Lange Box Company on Russell Boulevard. A substantial piece of the boiler then traveled around 500 feet and crashed through the roof of the Faultless Healthcare Linen building.
Fifty-nine-year-old Kenneth Trentham was killed in the initial explosion at the box company. When the equipment crashed into the Faultless Healthcare Linen building it struck two employees, 43-year-old Tonya Gonzalez-Suarez and 46-year-old Christopher Watkins, killing them. A fourth person, Clifford Lee, 53, was trapped under the hot boiler after it crashed into Faultless Healthcare Linen. He later died as a result of his injuries.
Late Thursday night, the Simon Law Firm issued a press release stating all pending lawsuits regarding the explosion were settled for slightly over $47 million.
“According to the attorneys for the Plaintiffs, this tragedy resulted from a prolonged series of errors by the various defendants in the case, beginning with the failure by the designer and manufacturer to include a corrosion allowance on the pressure vessel. Thereafter, inadequate water chemistry treatment, blowdowns to remove sediment, and inspections by the vessel’s owner and outside consultants during the life of the vessel led to excessive corrosion. Additionally, a deficient repair of the leaking vessel four years earlier by an outside company left defective, corroded material in place,” read part of the law firm’s press release.
According to the law firm, all of the lawsuits filed by families of those killed and injured were consolidated and a two-day mediation was conducted in early June, during which settlements were reached between the plaintiffs and Kickham Boiler and Engineering, Chicago Boiler Company, Aquacomp Water Treatment Services, Loy-Lange, and Arise Incorporated. The law firm said after the meditation, the plaintiffs settled with Clayton Industries.
“While we cannot change the outcome of that fateful day, the agreed upon settlement from all the Defendants provides significant compensation to plaintiffs and hopefully moves the healing process forward for everyone. For those families and friends who have lost loves ones and for those injured in this tragic accident, including members of the Loy-Lange family, we will continue to remember you,” said Loy-Lange Box Company Vice President Rod Powers.
In a press release Friday, Powers went on to dispute reports that the vessel was improperly installed.
“Following the investigation and development of all facts in the litigation regarding its role in the accident, there was nothing about the installation of the vessel, which was performed by one of the other defendants, that contributed to cause the explosion," he said.