(KRON) — A couple whose home was destroyed after their neighbor’s residence exploded in the Outer Sunset District has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the residence.
David Garth and his wife Nang Phommavongsay lived next door to the home that exploded in February. They say their home was ruined and their lives forever changed by the traumatic explosion which “leveled the home to its foundation.”
Darron Price, 53, was arrested after the explosion on suspicion of manufacturing drugs at the residence at 1734 22nd Avenue. He also is facing felony manslaughter charges after a woman’s body was found in the rubble. The woman was later determined to be his wife, 51-year-old Rita Price. Rita Price’s caretaker, Lisa, was left with severe burns after the explosion. Fire investigators later determined that the fire originated after ignitable vapors came into contact with the starting sequence of the dryer.
Investigators at the scene found butane tanks and other tools related to producing hash oil, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said. Price, who has dual citizenship in Australia and the U.S., was released on home detention in Feburary.
The complaint, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleges that when Price moved in at 1734 22nd Ave. back in 2021 that the, “Defendants were aware or should have been aware that he had filled the basement of the home with large butane tanks used for these illegal purposes.”
Court documents detail the terrifying moments the couple faced in the wake of the explosion. On the morning of Feb. 9, Garth dropped his wife off at work and his daughter off at school before heading to Oakland. He saw an explosion happened in the Outer Sunset, but initially assumed it was connected to a different home.
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That’s when Phommavongsay called him; she was crying because their home was on fire. The court filing says most of the family’s belongings were completely incinerated in the blaze.
The defendants are identified in court documents as Peter De Martini and Diane De Martini. The De Martinis live nearby to the residence, and the court filing alleges they often walked by to check in and talk with Price.
“The behavior exhibited by the Defendants is nothing short of shocking. Allowing a tenant to operate a highly dangerous drug lab in your garage is a ticking time bomb. Their neighbors David and Nang are lucky to be alive, and their lives are forever marked by this tragic event. They were left with nothing,” the couple’s attorney, David Hollenberg of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, said.
“Seeing our life completely turn upside down like that is something I don’t know we can ever recover from. It’s still hard to sleep even months later.” — Nang Phommavongsay
The Garth Phommavongsay family did not specify the amount they are asking for in damages. However, the court documents lists medical expenses, past and future loss of earning as well as general and punitive damages to be considered by the court.
The initial incident report provided by the San Francisco Fire Department details some of the damages connected to the explosion. An estimated $5.5 million dollars in property damage occurred on the street after the explosion, and an additional $2.3 million in personal property was also damaged. An estimated 15 homes faced various levels of damage after the fire.
Local leaders held a town hall to address neighbors after the explosion rocked the area. Community members told KRON4 they couldn’t believe this incident happened.