💥 A house explosion in Vineland injured two people in 2021

💥 The sudden blast was caused by a delivery driver's mistake, a lawsuit says

💥 USAA wants over $400,000 from the propane company that employed the driver

VINELAND — A mistake made by a delivery driver is responsible for a massive explosion that leveled an entire home and injured two people, according to a lawsuit.

On Dec. 15, 2021, a Vineland house on Cornucopia Avenue suddenly exploded, scattering debris. Two people were injured and several foster dogs were inside at the time. The home was owned by Jonathan and Marisol Defrancis.

According to the civil complaint filed on Feb. 10, the explosion was avoidable. In the suit, USAA General Indemnity Company claimed a Suburban Propane delivery driver's negligence was responsible.

Vineland home explosion aftermath 12/15/21. (CBS Philly, Kerri Corrado via Twitter)
Vineland home explosion aftermath 12/15/21. (CBS Philly, Kerri Corrado via Twitter)

Around two months before the explosion, Defrancis replaced the home's propane gas oven with a natural gas oven. At the time, he shut off the gas valve on the propane tank to stop it from flowing into the house.

Then on the day of the explosion, a worker with Suburban Propane arrived to fulfill the couple's auto-fill contract. According to the suit, the worker opened the gas valve on the tank allowing propane to flow into the basement. The house was completely destroyed within a few hours.

According to the suit, the driver failed to ask the homeowners for permission to open the valve and failed to investigate why it was closed.

Fortunately for the Defrancis family, their home was insured. The insurance company, USAA, filed the lawsuit seeking $403,750.54 from Suburban Propane to cover the cost, claiming negligence.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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