San Benito family files $500M lawsuit over Christmas explosion

SAN BENITO — In the early morning hours of Christmas Day, a San Benito family was waking up to celebrate.

Unknown to them, a large propane gas cloud had formed in the house.

When the gas ignited, it caused an explosion that “blew the roof from the home,” killing two people and severely injuring six others.

This is all according to a lawsuit filed yesterday morning in state district court in Starr County against six companies.

Two victims and relatives of victims filed the lawsuit against Harlingen-based Hino Gas Sales and Lowe’s Home Centers.

The lawsuit also names the manufacturers of the family’s propane tank and the tank’s regulator as defendants, as well as the company that sold the tank.

The family alleges these companies were negligent and contributed to the explosion that killed two of their loved ones and injured the others.

Alex Hinojosa Jr., president and CEO of Hino Electric Power Company, said the company had not been served with the lawsuit. He expressed his condolences to the family and referred questions to the company’s attorney.

The attorney, John McCoy, said he has not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it. He also said the explosion is still under investigation.

A spokeswoman for Lowe’s said it is the company’s practice to not comment on pending litigation.

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