Insurer sues Florida Power claims after transformer explosion, fire at shoe company warehouse

By John Breslin | Jul 3, 2018

MIAMI – A Florida power company is being sued in U.S. District Court Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, by the insurer of a shoe company whose premises were badly damaged in a 2016 fire.

Pennsylvania-based Indemnity Insurance filed the suit June 19 against Florida Power and Light Company, which provided electrical services to Olem Shoe of Miami.

Indemnity is seeking a judgment of $178,000 from Florida Power claiming Florida Power was negligent for failing to provide proper services and a safe transformer. The insurance company is assuming from Olem Shoe the legal right to make the claim.

The complaint states that on May 9, 2016, an explosion occurred in an electrical room adjacent to the shoe company's warehouse.

Olem had contacted Florida Power earlier that day complaining that it was having electrical problems, and Florida Power sent technicians to the property and began working, the complaint said. After the technicians left the room,  the transformer exploded.

The doors were blown off and oil spilled on to the streets, spreading the fire and black smoke, the complaint states.

The complaint said the fire spread to the roof of the warehouse, triggering sprinklers that rained water on the shoe company's merchandise, "resulting in significant damage and loss to Olem Shoe Corporation’s inventory."

The complaint said the power company "owed a duty to Olem Shoe Corporation to use reasonable care and to provide a safe, working transformer. ... Defendant breached this duty by failing to properly and safely repair Olem Shoe Corporation’s electrical problems and by failing to provide a transformer in good working condition."

Florida Power is accused of failing to repair the transformer, which the plaintiff claims was not in good working condition.

"As a direct and proximate result of defendant’s negligence, Olem Shoe Corporation’s stock and property was significantly damaged and lost," the complaint said.

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