Seattle firefighter injured in 2016 blast suing utility company

Jeff Markoff said he's experienced ongoing cognitive issues, severe headaches, as well as hearing and memory loss

By FireRescue1 Staff

SEATTLE — A firefighter who is experiencing ongoing health issues after responding to a natural gas explosion last year is suing the utility company and its contractor.

The Seattle Times reported that 18-year veteran Jeff Markoff filed the lawsuit against Puget Sound Energy and a contractor last week after suffering from “ongoing cognitive difficulties, severe headaches, hearing loss, disturbances such as recurring images after the explosion, memory loss” and other health issues.

Markoff is asking for monetary compensation for his injuries and would like the courts to require PSE “inspect and remediate its gas pipelines ‘to protect the public from grave harm.’” His attorney said there is concern the explosion caused some brain injury.

Nine firefighters responded to the report of a possible gas leak on March 9, 2016. As they were trying to find the source, a nearby building exploded. Markoff said wood and concrete fell on top of the firefighters.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission determined that a contractor hired by PSE didn’t properly cut and cap the gas line, reported the Times. PSE reached a settlement with the commission for $1.5 million, which includes inspecting thousands of retired gas lines.

UTC commissioners still need to approve the settlement.

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