HOUSTON - The family of a man electrocuted after attempting to rescue his sister’s cat during Hurricane Harvey is suing Center Point Energy along with the company that installed the light fixture that caused the problem.
Andrew Pasek, 25, was electrocuted when the current from a light fixture in someone’s yard near the sidewalk passed through his ankle.
The lawsuit lists not only CenterPoint Energy, but TE Connectivity Corporation, Area Lighting Research, Antwine Electric and the two people who own the home where the light fixture was as defendants. Pasek’s family attorney is seeking more than $1,000,000 in damages.
“When the officials know when the area will be flooded it should be mandatory that the utility companies turn off the electricity those areas,” said Jodell Pasek, Andrew’s mother. She and her family are on a mission to warn people about the danger of floodwaters and also have utility companies turn off the power in known flooded area.
Paseks’s sister, Alyssa Davidson, lives in Bear Creek Village. During Hurricane Harvey, her home flooded after the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from the Addicks Reservoir.
Davidson said she and her husband had very little time to prepare and packed up their dog along with some belongings to evacuate on Aug. 28, 2017. Their cat named D'Artagnan, who weighs more than 10 pounds, was left behind because they couldn't find her cage.
"Any life is important, an animal's life is important, a child's life is important, and it maybe it seems so silly he was going for my cat, but the situation is so much bigger than that, he really did love me and was trying to do me a favor,” Davidson said, crying.
Pasek, who was an Eagle Scout, was a lover of not only cars and music, but animals. He was known for rescuing them and then keeping them as pets.
So, on Aug. 29, he and his friend ventured into the neighborhood to go rescue his sister’s cat.
“My brother was concerned about the cat, he thought there was a way he could get to the house and save her,” Davidson said. “He was successful making it to the neighborhood but unfortunately along the way he came in contact with a live wire and in someone’s front yard and passed away around 2:30 p.m.”
The 25-year-old was wading in knee-high water on the sidewalk with a friend on a street over from his sister’s home, when he felt a current in his ankle.
“He saved the life of his friend Sean, told him not to come near him, it could have been anyone that day,” Jodell Pasek said, crying.
During a press conference at their attorney’s office, each family member broke down after re-telling what happened that day and where they’re at now.
"I know every parent says their kid is great. Andrew was great,” Albin Pasek, Andrew’s father said, crying. “Every day we watched men, women and children along with our great responders trying to escape the flooded water trying to escape the high water not thinking of the dangers that might be present.”
Muhammad Aziz, the attorney representing the family, said they are also suing the homeowner of the light fixture along with the person who installed it stating what happened could have been prevented.
The lawsuit alleges Antwine Electric was negligent with installing the light fixture. The lawsuit states, “The electrical (equipment) and/or wiring were not properly installed, contributing to the cause of Pasek’s electrocution. The electrical equipment and/or wiring, were connected to an outdoor light fixture that malfunctioned during the relevant time, causing electrical currents to t enter into the water surrounding the premises.”
Using visual aids, Aziz said during the press conference, “Whoever installed this box stapled through this wire, the staple should have never been through this wire. Due to this, this created a hazardous condition and an electrical current, short created, due to this staple.”
The lawsuit accuses the Dossey family of negligence and in the court documents state they should have “safe upkeep and maintenance of the property.”
Azizi said as for CenterPoint Energy, he alleges the company knew the area was going to flood due to the warnings from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We know that flooding is a fact of life in Houston now, in the last four years we’ve had multiple floods and I think it’s about time CenterPoint Energy and other utility companies make it a policy, make it a rule if they know an area is going to flood, they should cut the circuit. They should stop the electricity supply to that area so we don’t have multiple electrocutions like we did during Harvey,” Aziz said.
Andrew’s mother said her main goal is to educate people before the next major flooding.
“With hurricane season coming soon, I want to get the word out there if anything can come from my son losing his life, at the young age of 25. I want people to be aware of these dangers,” Jodell Pasek said.
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