SANDYSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A routine heating oil delivery had devastating consequences for a customer in New Jersey.
“Things are difficult. I lost my business of 30 years. I’m in pain 24 hours a day, even throughout my sleep,” homeowner Kelly Yawger told CBS2.
The massage therapist claims her misery started with a faulty oil delivery.
“It was pouring out of the tank, and the gauge was out, and so was the fill,” she explained. “This is all stained here from the oil that came down.”
Yawger said her oil company improperly attached the nozzle to her tank, and oil sprayed everywhere.
“There was insulation hanging down starting here, covered with oil,” she said.
She claims the damaging mess was everywhere – dripping from walls and seeping behind the washing machine.
“The fumes were unbearable. By the time I got down to the bottom of the stairs, the fumes you could smell, unbelievable,” she said.
Yawger said she was immediately sickened from the oil, with breathing and muscular issues that still persist today. But that was just the start of her problems.
She claims the company tried to remedy the mess improperly by putting a powder designed to soak up the oil directly into her ventilation system, causing it to come through her vents, where she unknowingly breathed it in.
“It is like acid. I can’t even tell you how much this stuff burned,” she said. “I came to the sink and I was splashing water. It was so bad, on top of his sick I was already from the fumes.”
Now, Yawger is suing the oil company, Suburban Propane. Her lawyer says this type of accident isn’t covered by insurance.
“Anyone can appreciate that when simply getting a delivery of home heating oil to their house that they never anticipate winding up with a basement full of oil,” said Anthony Macri.
Yawger says more than five years after the incident, the oil stain is still visible on the tank and she can’t afford to replace all of the damaged insulation in her basement.
“To be able to have a house was a dream I never imagined I’d be able to have, and I just saw everything I’d ever worked for just slipping away,” she said.
“This is something that could happen to anybody if it’s not done properly,” added Macri. “It’s generally definitely not good for your health to have that happen, much less the mental anguish.”
CBS2 reached out to Suburban Propane for comment, but the company said it will not comment on pending litigation. The case is set for trial later this month.