A jury has awarded $10.875 million to a suburban Chicago homeowner who was severely burned in a house explosion.
Andrzej, the homeowner, was burned on more than two-thirds of his body when chemicals inside a concrete sealant product wafted over to the water heater in his basement and caused an explosion. Much of the rest of Andrzej's body that wasn't burned was used for skin grafts, he said. Out of concern for his privacy, Andrzej asked that his last name not be used.
A court ruled Tuesday that the product Andrzej used to seal the concrete floor in his basement, Crystal Clear VOC, was highly flammable and should have been better labeled.
"The can was open. The vapors traveled around the concrete block wall to the water heater, interacted, and the house exploded like that," Andrzej's attorney, Stephen Passen, said.
Passen added that Andrzej did open the windows and used a box fan, but the product label made no specific mention of extinguishing the pilot light in the water heater, which caused the explosion.
Andrzej could not use his hands following the accident because they were so badly burned. He wasn't even able to eat, so his wife, Kasia, had to feed him.
"The main problem is his hands," Kasia said. "He can't do anything with the burned hands. He got some skin grafts on his hands. We go back, we try to get some mobility, some good hands back."
Now the family has won a nearly $11 million judgment against Euclid Chemical, the makers of Crystal Clear VOC concrete sealant.
Passen argued that the product should only be used outdoors, and the label should clearly state as much.
NBC Chicago reached out to Euclid Chemical for their response to the jury's verdict, but the company has not yet provided a statement.