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Jefferson City auto body shop owner sues over 2019 explosion

Xtreme Body and Paint
The Xtreme Body and Paint shop after an explosion Jan. 31, 2019.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A Jefferson City auto body shop owner is suing MFA Oil Co. and one of its employees for an explosion that left him with serious injuries.

Christopher Russell and his wife, Elizabeth Russell, and their company Xtreme Body and Paint, LLC, filed the personal injury suit last week against MFA Oil and one of its employees.

In the lawsuit, the Russells claim the actions of MFA Oil and its employees led to the 2019 explosion that left Christopher Russell with severe burns to his head, neck, arms and body and "substantial damage" to his eyes. The lawsuit labels the injuries "permanent, disabling and disfiguring."

The explosion happened at about 4:30 a.m. Jan. 31, 2019, at 1007 Lomo Drive, where the Russells' home and shop were located.

According to the lawsuit, an MFA Oil employee sent "hundreds of gallons" of propane gas through an unused line on the Russells' property when servicing appliances. The propane built up underground and in the auto body shop leading to a large explosion, the lawsuit claims.

Court records indicate MFA Oil was served with the lawsuit Tuesday. A summons was issued for the employee, Charlie Houchins, last week, records show.

No attorneys were listed for MFA Oil or Houchines in online court records. An MFA Oil spokesperson said the company would not comment because the lawsuit is ongoing. Louis Accurso, a Kansas City lawyer representing the Russells, was not available for comment Friday afternoon.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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