PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - One year after a South Florida shopping center was rocked by an explosion, a woman directly impacted by it is sharing her story.
The explosion in Plantation left dozens injured and caused severe damage in and around the area.
Teri Dattilio, who was injured that day, is now taking legal action.
Dattilio said, “My injuries still are ongoing. I still continue to have constant lower back pain that radiates down both of legs and into my feet.”
Dattilio was inside an LA Fitness working out when the blast happened.
“I had just sat down, and I was pulling the weights when the explosion hit. The sound was so loud that it sounded like a bomb. We thought maybe there was a terrorist attack. The whole building shook back and forth three or four times,” Dattilio said.
Dattilio had ringing in her ears and suffered from headaches just from the sound of the blast, but the damage to her spine is what still causes severe pain.
She works in constructive engineering, which she said has been heavily impacted.
Dattilio said, “My lifestyle has been affected. I don’t even have any ambition to go work out anymore. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I have a lot of issues with depression because of how my life has changed, and I just want this to be resolved.”
She has now filed a lawsuit along with other victims injured in the explosion.
Attorney Samuel Coffey said, “All they had to do is go and look and say, ‘Hey, there’s a guy with a cap on it, and we’ll have a valve on it.'”
Natural gas leaked from a pizza shop and caused the explosion, according to investigators.
Coffey said, “What happened is someone removed the stove, and when they removed the stove they also removed the ball valve that turned off the gas inside the shop. They couldn’t put a cap on it.”
Attorneys said the property owner did not inspect the property from December of 2018 until July of 2019, and the gas company did not lock the valve when the utilities were shut off months prior.
Coffey said, “It’s gross negligence is what it is.”
“It’s so frustrating to me that people didn’t pay attention to it,” Dattilio said.
Attorneys said a $2 gas cap could have prevented the whole ordeal.
Dattilio may have to have back surgery in the event that her injuries do not improve.
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