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Coffee Stand Explosion Kills Barista

Workplace accidents, especially those that occur in work environments that are not inherently dangerous, are all too common and tragic. They are particularly tragic because there is a common theme among these accidents of preventability. Oftentimes, these accidents occur because of the negligence of a party in charge or with some authority. In these instances, but for the negligence, the danger would have never been present and the accident never would have occurred.

Common forms of negligence in the workplace can widely vary. One example is when business operators fail to perform proper inspections of the premises. Such inspections can make business owners and operators aware of unsafe conditions and put them on notice to fix these dangers. However, a business owner cannot be willfully blind to the fact that dangerous conditions could exist but fail to attempt to discover these conditions by not having an inspection performed. Another example is when a business owner is fully aware of safe procedures to implement in the workplace but fails to require that these guidelines be followed. Lastly, a business owner may be fully aware of a dangerous condition on the premises, but neglect to attend to and fix the danger, ignore it, and continue to allow it to pose harm to others.

According to an article by Komo News, a barista died in a coffee shop explosion. The article reports that the flames overtook the shop so quickly that the barista had no chance to escape. She suffered extensive burns, which were ultimately the cause of her death. The victim had two children, who unfortunately lost their mother as a result of the accident.

According to investigators, they do not have complete surety of what caused the fire. However, they believe that a propane tank was likely to have played a major role in this incident. Investigators relayed that propane tanks were being used to heat the shop. Within the shop, they also discovered a portable heater.

Another article, also by Komo News, relayed the accounts of nearby witnesses. One individual described how he saw flames completely swallow the coffee kiosk. He stated how he saw the flames rise up all the way above the power lines. A firefighter described how, despite the victim being inside the shop when the explosion occurred, that she somehow was able to escape the shop during the explosion. Being inside during the explosion though caused her critical condition and ultimately her death. Another nearby witness said she was driving eastbound past the shop when she saw huge flames come out of the stand, that was located immediately adjacent to a gas station parking lot. She then saw the fire spread to a nearby care before firefighters could arrive to extinguish the fire.

Our lawyers understand the seriousness of premises liability. Under the law, a business owner must maintain the grounds of a business in such a way so that it does not pose a danger to those whom they owe a legal duty of care – such as employees and customers. Where someone fails to maintain the premises in a safe condition free of dangers and an accident occurs that causes injury to others, the landowner or business owner can be held liable through a lawsuit for the injury and death of those affected.