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GIRL HURT IN ’85 BLAST SETTLES SUIT AGAINST LODGE FOR $20,000

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A little girl injured in the March 15, 1985, explosion of the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge in Alta has settled her federal suit against the lodge for $20,000.

The suit filed by Louise Wiens is still pending against Cal Gas Corp. and Otto Buehner and Co. doing business as Buehner Concrete Company.A settlement report says plaintiffs lawyers believe Cal Gas is primarily responsible for the explosion that killed two people and injured several others. The lawyers think that company installed a rigid piping system for a propane line that had no provisions for strain relief in appropriate places.

Louise, 12 at the time, was trapped nearly 10 hours when her hand was pinned under a 25-ton slab of prefabricated concrete.

Jack Ream, a physician who recently died in a fall down a hospital stairway, managed to save her hand. Despite the original diagnosis of severely-damaged nerves, the girl recovered almost a complete range of movement in her hand.

Ellyn Wiens, 45 at the time, was the last of five people injured in the blast to be released from local hospitals. She suffered a broken pelvis.

In addition, two people were killed and several more were injured in the explosion.

Investigators had believed that the leak in the propane line, coming from a 6,000-gallon propane tank northeast of the lodge, let gas seep into the building.

In a brief appearance before U.S. District Judge David Sam Wednesday, lawyers for both sides said Mrs. Wiens was appointed the legal representative of her daughter and that the funds will be disbursed to her for her daughter.

Sam approved the settlement and said the case will proceed soon against the other involving two defendants.