Homeowners file lawsuit over Sun Prairie explosion

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A group of homeowners filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages to recover losses from property and related damages as a result of a deadly natural gas explosion in downtown Sun Prairie.

Nine homeowners filed the lawsuit on August 2. They complaint is against VC Tech, Bear Communications, Verizon, WE Energies, and USIC Locating Services.

On July 10, 2018, a gas main was hit near the intersection of Bristol and Main Street while crews were trying to put in fiber-optic lines. An explosion happened as a result of the leak, killing Sun Prairie Fire Captain Cory Barr. Authorities say an ignition source of the explosion was never found.

In December 2018, officials announced there would be no criminal charges in the explosion.

Several homes and buildings were damaged in the explosion.

According to the complaint, the nine homeowners lost their homes or property after the explosion. They are seeking damages to recover costs to relocate, lost income related to work, disruption of their lives,and emotional trauma.

The complaint states each of the homeowners seek relief, damages, and judgements against the defendants for their negligence in an amount to be determined at trial. They are also seeking court costs and legal fees.

There are four other lawsuits in Dane County court related to the explosion. They are from Abigail Barr, Captain Barr's widow, two firefighters injured in the explosion, Ryan Welch and Greg Pavlik, and the City of Sun Prairie.

A Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is scheduled to make its decision about VC Tech on Thursday. The commission will determine if the drilling company, VC Tech, violated state law when it failed to notify the state's utility call center, known as Diggers Hotline, prior to work on July 10. VC Tech could face up to $500,000 in fines.

VC Tech was fined nearly $12,934 in January by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to contact Diggers Hotline.