Employees Burned in Pool Heater Explosion

sport chalet

There are more than a dozen defendants in a case that involved two Sport Chalet employees getting burned in a pool heater explosion that occurred last March.

Nearly 10 months later, investigators are still gathering evidence to use in the lawsuit that is suing not only the LA sporting goods store but the manufacturer of the pool heater, a pool service technician, a plumber, the gas service provider, and several more.

Lauren Polzin was the manager at the store’s location when an electrician who was working on site on the store’s lights discovered the gas leak. He smelled fumes coming from a utility closet and notified Polzin as well as the store’s supervisor Victor Gonzalez who went into the closet to see if he could fix the problem.

Unfortunately, when he and Polzin entered the pool equipment room, the gas ignited immediately after an employee turned off the gas supply valve.

Polzin had severe burns over 40 percent of her body, which the lawsuit cites as having caused her “great mental, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.”

Victor Gonzalez suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body.

In an attempt to show some good will, the company held a fundraiser for the two high ranking employees which raised over $25,000.

The investigation is seeking to find out who or what was responsible for fixing or causing the gas leak that triggered the explosion of the pool heater. The state division of Occupational Safety and Health cited Sport Chalet claimed that “supervisors and employees did not receive training in how to address imminent hazards, which could not be immediately abated without endangering employees.” The citation also stated that the concentration of flammable gas was in violation of regulations, saying that it “exceeded 25 percent of the lower explosive limit.”

Sport Chalet was fined nearly $20,000 for these violations—state officials said that the company has not filed an appeal.

Expect to see this lawsuit move forward after the investigation is completed, even though the actual incident took place 10 months ago. Damages are expected to be determined when the case goes to trial.
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