A Lindenhurst woman who suffered a serious injury during an explosion at an Antioch restaurant is receiving a $1 million settlement after suing the business, her lawyer said.
LaVerne and Charles Burress, of Lindenhurst, went to dinner at Anastasias Restaurant and Sports Lounge on Hillside Avenue in Antioch on September 16, 2020.
The couple dined on the restaurant’s outdoor patio.
An outdoor fireplace on the restaurant’s patio exploded just after 7 p.m.
LaVerne Burress, who was seated near the faulty fireplace, suffered a severe and painful injury to her Achilles tendon that required surgery, a lawsuit said.
The woman was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The entire incident was captured on video.
An investigation revealed the explosion occurred as the result of a pinhole crack in the connection between the flex hose and the gas pipe in the north tower of the outdoor fireplace, the lawsuit said.
The suit was filed in April 2021 in Lake County Circuit Court against the restaurant, claiming the establishment failed to adequately inspect, maintain and repair the outdoor fireplace, causing an unreasonable risk of harm.
“Annual inspections of all gas lines in a restaurant setting is a national safety standard across the restaurant and hospitality industry. The gas lines of the fireplace that exploded had never been inspected since it was constructed 8 years before the incident,” Burress’ attorney, John A. Mennie, said.
“If any kind of annual inspection had been performed, it would have revealed that the wrong kind of connection hose was used and that there were signs of deterioration requiring replacement with the correct kind of gas line,” Mennie said.
A settlement was reached earlier this month for $995,500, which includes the policy limits of the restaurant’s insurance provider.
The settlement was reached just days before a trial was set to begin.
“LaVerne suffers from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. We are pleased to have resolved this case without having her testify at trial, forcing her to relive the traumatic memories that disrupt her daily life,” Mennie said.