Lehigh Valley

Hickory Hills residents seek oversight of work on propane system

Explosion killed Moore Township mobile home resident in February

Residents seek oversight of work on propane system

EASTON, Pa. - A community that lost one of its residents to a deadly explosion last month is asking for help from a judge.

Hickory Hills' propane system is being overhauled, and residents want a fresh set of eyes on the project.

A group of 11 filled a Northampton County courtroom asking for an emergency injunction, but the judge asked them to re-file their paperwork.

Some residents said they are still scared that an explosion could happen again in their Moore Twp., Northampton Co., neighborhood.

The explosion at the Hickory Hills mobile home park last month killed one resident.

"The overall concern is simply the health, safety and welfare of the community," said Jamie Sutton, attorney for the residents.

Residents wrote up the legal paperwork to have a third party oversee the work being done to decommission the community propane system, but the proceedings hit a snag.

"They were supposed to provide us with a certain notice under the rules of court with respect to what they were doing today," added Mark Malkames, attorney for property owners, Continental Communities LLC. "They didn't do that. So we really couldn't respond to the issues they wanted to raise."

The judge also questioned whether she has jurisdiction over matters handled by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Department of Labor and Industry.

Malkames told the judge work on the propane system should be finished by April 4. Then, the issues raised in court will not be issues anymore.

"I really don't think there is a need or a legal basis for them to continue, or to claim that they should have some control over their lease contract with the community," said Malkames.

Residents have asked their attorney to re-file for the emergency injunction. They feel someone other than the owners should be watching out for their safety.

"So, the overall goal here is just to make sure that the work that was done already was done appropriately and safely," said Sutton. "And the work going forward be monitored by somebody to make sure that it's up to code."

Residents said they expect to file a new motion for the injunction by the end of the week.

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