By Hank Tester

PLANTATION (CBSMiami) — It has been a year since a Plantation shopping mall was all but leveled by a huge explosion. No one was killed, 23 were injured and many continue to have lingering issues. Some of those hurt in the blast have filed a lawsuit.

Terri Dattilio and her husband were working out in a gym located next to the vacant restaurant that exploded on July 6, 2019.

She said it looked like a war zone.

“There were people laying the parking lot with glass all over them. There was a gentleman with a piece of glass, it looked like, in his abdomen, and someone was trying to put something on him to stop the bleeding. The restaurant where the explosion happened was gone and the two or three buildings next to it were gone,” explained Dattilio who gets choked up a little recalling the horrific incident.

“It was just really overwhelming. We really thought it was like a terrorist attack.”

Dattilio, who along with six other plaintiffs, are suing the strip mall landlord, property management company and the gas company.

Gas appliances had been removed from the restaurant that exploded.

Sam Coffey, the attorney representing the victims, says when gas appliances were removed from the closed pizza restaurant they also took a gas valve and left the gas pipe uncapped.

He demonstrated how a $2 cap could have been placed on the gas line and the explosion would never have happened.

in addition, Coffey added, “the gas company in December turned off the gas but they did not put a lock on the gas valve outside.” According to the law suit, somehow the valve was opened, gas flowed into the restaurant and eventually a spark from a functioning air conditioning sparked the gas which caused the explosion.

“This happened because of the gross negligence of the gas company and the landlord that elected to remove the appliances from the property and did not check the gas line”

Hearings in the case should begin in a couple of months.