Explosion

Dillon Ryan was working on an email at his desk when the world suddenly exploded around him. His friend and employee Parker Milldebrandt was at his desk along the east wall of Platinum Printing, working on a printing order.

Andrew Ryan was in the back storage room, looking for a specific kind of paper to fill an order. He was the closest to where the Aug. 26 gas explosion began at their workplace in Sunset Plaza at Ray and Kyrene roads, Chandler.

After the blast, they could look up and see the sky from inside their building. Their bodies were engulfed in flames as they struggled to find a way out. Dillon and Parker were able to climb over a printing machine and exit through where the front door had been. The force of the blast blew it 150 feet away.

Once they reached the parking lot, their thoughts turned to Andrew. Dillon started screaming his brother’s name and fear the worst, until Andrew finally emerged from the wreckage of their business.

Those details from the natural gas explosion are part of a lawsuit the three men and their families filed on April 14 against 13 companies they blame for the explosion that left all three men with severe burns and destroyed their business.

A lawyer representing the three men said they are still recuperating from their injuries and were not available for interviews. A fourth man, Glenn Jordan, was also injured in the blast. He was working at his eyeglass-repair shop two doors down from Platinum Printing when the explosion happened. He is not among the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that unbeknownst to them, there was an undetected natural gas leak from a Driscopipe 8000 pipe that caused the explosion. The lawsuit says Platinum Printing did not use natural gas and was not hooked up for natural gas.

It further claims a crack in the Driscopipe 8000 service stub allowed natural gas to leak through a trench to their utility room.

Listed as defendants in the lawsuit are Southwest Gas Corporation; Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc.; Arizona Pipeline Company; Chevron Corporation; Chevron USA; Phillips 66; Phillips 66 Company; Chevron Phillips Chemical Company; Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LP; ConocoPhillips; ConocoPhillips Company; Black and White Corporations I-X; and ABC Partnerships I-X.

The lawsuit claims Chevron-Phillips defendants made the Driscopipe 8000 pipe; that pipe was distributed by Southwest Gas defendants; and it was installed by Arizona Pipeline.

It goes on to say that because of the physically demanding nature of running a printing company, and because of the injuries they sustained, the three men would never be able to work in that field again.

The lawsuit says with the building destroyed, and their injuries keeping them from working, they have lost all the clientele they had built up over a decade.

Lawyers for the three men are not specifying the amount in damages they are seeking. Instead, they are asking for a sum that must be fair and just to compensate each of them for their general and special damages.

Milldebrandt is permanently injured, scarred and disfigured by the blast, according to the lawsuit. It says he will need many more surgical procedures in the future.

The 78-page lawsuit details a lot of the known problems with Driscopipe 8000 pipes, and how the defendants knew about them. It also includes incidents around the Valley that have happened with those pipes since the Platinum Printing gas explosion.

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