Monday , May 27 2024

Inmate Dies After Gas Pipeline Explosion

A tower of flames erupting into the sky after a gas pipeline exploded April 17th at Highway 99 and Weber.

11 people were injured: a county worker, two Fresno County deputies and eight inmates.
 
Now, that explosion has claimed it’s first life: an inmate, 52-year-old Jeremiah Espino who died Monday.

The sheriff’s office is not releasing his mug shot, but jail records show he was arrested December 24th for domestic violence and was set to be released June 24th.

Attorney Butch Wagner is representing 5 of the 6 inmates taking legal action. Wagner says he has spoken to the family of Espino, and right now, they’re just asking for their privacy.

But Wagner says if his wife or children wanted to take legal action, they could.

"They’re damages would include any loss of love or society or companionship," Wagner said.

Wagner says so far he has filed a lawsuit against PG&E on behalf of his five inmates.

"A PG&E pipeline should not have exploded in the way it does," Wagner said.

A lawsuit against the county is possible pending results from lab tests on the pipe. Testing on that pipe began Monday. Results could be out within weeks.

But Wagner says the recent death of Espino won’t impact the lawsuits now underway.

"The same proof has to be as to whether the county or PG&E are both as liable," Wagner said.

Two other inmates and the county equipment operator injured from the blast remain in the hospital.

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