House Explosion in Berlin, Massachusetts Kills Woman, Injures Daughter [Updated]

Updated August 24, 2023, when fire investigators determined that a propane leak caused the Berlin house explosion.

A devastating house explosion in Berlin, Massachusetts, killed 79-year-old Judith Christensen and sent her daughter Jill to the hospital. When fire crews arrived at the scene early Friday morning, the blast had leveled the Christensens’ house on Pleasant Street. Judy and Jill were inside sleeping when their house exploded. Sadly, Judy died at the scene. Neighbors acted quickly to rescue Jill, who was trapped underneath a section of the roof. The Berlin Fire Chief told CBS News Boston that the neighbors acted “heroically” to save her life. Jill was transported to UMass Medical for treatment.

Judy and Jill were well-known in their community. A GoFundMe page that was set up to support the Christensen family says, “If you live in Berlin or the surrounding towns, you most likely have a great story about Judy.” Judy worked at the Berlin General Store for two decades, where she was known for her upbeat personality.

Fire investigators initially suspected that the explosion was caused by a propane or natural gas leak. Officials say a gas company was at the house inspecting the propane system in the days leading up to the explosion.

In August 2023, fire investigators determined that a propane leak caused the house in Berlin, Massachusetts, to explode. According to the investigation, residents reported smelling gas in their backyard the night before the explosion, where two 100 lb. liquid propane tanks were located. When the residents notified Knight Fuel Company of an apparent leak, the gas company sent an employee to the property, who removed the tank and left it within 20 feet of the house. According to the investigation, officials suspect the tank continued leaking and entered the house through the fieldstone foundation and basement walkout before the gas ignited at about 3:30 a.m.

According to a report in CBS News, the investigation found that Knight Fuel Company violated several rules, including the following:

  • Storing more than 42 lbs. of propane without a permit
  • Failing to notify the Berlin Fire Department of a leaking propane tank

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Explosion Wrongful Death Lawsuit Information

If you lost a loved one in a house explosion, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice on their behalf. While no amount of money could ever make up for your loss, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can bring those accountable to justice and provide financial support for your family during this difficult time.

An experienced explosion lawyer will conduct an independent investigation to determine who is liable for causing the explosion. If there is sufficient evidence to support your wrongful death claim, you may be able to take legal action against any of the following companies:

  • Gas company
  • Propane company that serviced your propane tank before it exploded
  • Landlord
  • Construction company
  • Contractor or subcontractor
  • Component manufacturer
  • Maintenance company
  • Installation company
  • City, county, or state

Contact an Experienced Explosion Lawyer

Pritzker Hageman is one of the few law firms in the country with experience representing burn survivors and families who lost a loved one. We have gone up against large gas companies to win hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in explosion lawsuits nationwide.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with an explosion lawyer, please call 1-888-377-8900, text 612-261-0856, or fill out the form below.

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Category: Explosion, Fire and Burn Injuries
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