HOUSTON - A Houston man is in critical condition in the hospital with burns over much of his body after his garage exploded.
Eduardo Maltos' family blames CenterPoint Energy for the near-fatal blast. The family has filed a lawsuit, claiming a gas leak was the cause of the explosion.
"It smelled so bad, our heads hurt, our neighbors' heads hurt. It became unbearable," said Maria Maltos, the victim's wife.
Maltos' lawyers say people in the neighborhood have been complaining about the gas leak for years, but it was never properly fixed.
"Everybody has been calling, they have been out here testing it, keeping an eye on it, but apparently it didn't work," said neighbor Jose Solis.
The accident happened when Eduardo Maltos opened the door to his garage and a vapor that had built up exploded.
"He lit a candle and upon lighting the lighter, it ignited with a big blue flame and it blew the door of his garage," said Robert Kwok, an attorney for the family.
A judge on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence. The Maltos' lawyers went back to the neighborhood to hand the order to CenterPoint employees.
They are also warning other people in the neighborhood to be on high alert so they don't experience what happened to Eduardo Maltos.
"It seems like it took one man getting horrifically burned over 40% of his body. Ed is only 31-years-old and he is burned beyond recognition," said Kwok.
Maltos sustained second and third-degree burns on his upper torso and face.
"He is going to get some surgery tomorrow, he is going to get some skin grafts on his arm and stomach," said Maria Maltos.
The victim remains in critical condition.
CenterPoint's public relations manager would not comment on pending litigation. The company said they are conducting an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the incident.
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