Local 2 Investigates is uncovering new information about a pair of house explosions that disfigured a little boy and led to the death of a 64-year-old woman.
On New Year's Eve 2011, Giovanni Regalado received a phone call that his then 3-year-old son, Izaiah, was burned in a fire at his mother's house.
"That's when I asked God if he could heal my son," said Regalado. "He was burned from, he was burned everywhere. He did not look like my son."
Izaiah Regalado survived the explosion, but has endured 15 surgeries with more planned in the future. Izaiah lost his fingers, toes and is permanently scarred.
"I mean he's going to have to live all his life like this," said Izaiah 's grandmother, Martha Regalado.
Records filed as part of a lawsuit show a rock rubbing against an underground gas line outside the home produced a crack that led to the leak. Court records read that even though the family did not have gas service at the time, leaking gas from the line crept into the home and ignited.
"This gas literally intruded into their home," said attorney Rob Ammons, who represents the Regalado family.
Ammons said part of his investigation led him to question the work of a CenterPoint leak surveyor by the name of Javier Garza. Ammons said records show Garza checked the gas line outside the family's home the year before the explosion, but reported no leaks.
"If the survey had been done properly this explosion could have been avoided," Ammons claimed.
During a deposition, Garza was repeatedly asked if he remembered conducting the leak survey. According to a transcription of the deposition Garza responded, "No."
Ammons said as the legal process moved forward, he learned Garza's work as a leak surveyor had already been questioned as part of an investigation into another house explosion.
"We recognized there was an issue with the leak surveys," said attorney Daniel Horowitz.
Records filed as part of another lawsuit showed a tree root is believed to have cracked a gas line outside a Pasadena area home in October of 2009. Records filed in the suit read the leak was so large it caused standing rain water in one backyard to bubble. The leaking gas triggered an explosion and fire that led to the death of 64-year-old Dell Miles. Miles daughter, Angela Landry, was permanently injured.
"Things you take for granted, you know, just to write my name. I can't write my name anymore," Landry said during a videotaped statement taken by attorney Daniel Horowitz, who represented the family in the lawsuit.
Horowitz said CenterPoint logs showed Garza was responsible for checking that gas line for leaks just days before the explosion.
"There's just no way that that leak wouldn't have been found," said Horowitz. "I don't believe a leak like that happened overnight."
However, during a videotaped deposition, Garza denied it was his responsibility to check that line.
"No, not me," Garza said during a videotaped deposition.
"It wasn't you?" Horowitz asked.
"No," Garza said.
"We found out later he was not telling the truth," Horowitz said during an interview with Local 2 Investigates.
Horowitz also said when he asked to see the paperwork Garza is required to fill out to prove he conducted a leak survey, he was told someone at CenterPoint "had destroyed it and threw it in the trash."
"I was honestly shocked," said Horowitz.
Unfortunately, none of the questions regarding Garza's work leading up to the 2009 explosion were discovered until just weeks before the 2011 explosion that disfigured Izaiah Regalado.
Records filed as part of the Regalado lawsuit show as soon as CenterPoint discovered these problems, Garza was fired. CenterPoint settled both lawsuits out of court.
"If someone was on point with their job, taking responsibility with what they had to do, none of this would have happened," said Giovanni Regalado.
Local 2 then tried to speak directly with Garza at his home.
"You're aware of the two house explosions, correct? The two explosions at the houses?" asked Local 2 investigator Robert Arnold.
"I don't want to talk to you, I'm sorry," said Garza before closing the door to the home.
CenterPoint officials declined Local 2's request to speak about these explosions on camera.