Court: Utility worker not off the hook in Lansing fire
Feb. 24, 2018
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan court has cleared the way for a trial or financial settlement in the case of a Lansing home that was destroyed when a utility worker used a blowtorch to thaw an outdoor spigot.
The employee worked for the Lansing Board of Water and Light. There's no dispute that a house owned by Cora Hobbs-Jackson burned down and all her possessions were lost in February 2015.
The utility has governmental immunity in the case. But the state appeals court says a jury can decide whether the employee was grossly negligent.
The court notes that the employee had a fire extinguisher in her car but didn't have it nearby when she used a blowtorch on the water spigot. The spigot was surrounded by combustible materials.