Explosions & Fires


Our firm is no stranger to the pain and suffering that follows after a major fire or explosion. Both of our firm’s Senior Partners, Doug Sheff and Kathy Jo Cook, were heavily involved in the aftermath of the Columbia Gas Explosions that rocked Massachusetts in September of 2018.

Doug led the civil case against Columbia Gas on behalf of the family of the sole fatality, Lawrence teenager Leonel Rondon, while Kathy was named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Consolidated Class Action suit filed on behalf of the residents of the Merrimack Valley who were driven from their homes in fear on that catastrophic day. 

All of these cases resulted in an aggregate settlement of $143 million in the spring of 2020.

In addition, Doug was President of the Massachusetts Bar Association during the Boston Marathon bombings, one of the most significant explosions in New England History. With his extensive knowledge of invisible injuries and brain trauma, Sheff fought to get the compensation that dozens of survivors needed from the One Fund to pay for necessary medical treatment.

This relentless advocacy extends to every explosion injury case Sheff & Cook handles. Our firm is distinguished by our team approach, which gives every client a full team of experienced attorneys rather than a single lawyer. We employ respected medical experts for in-depth testing and diagnosis of explosion survivors to uncover every injury and determine the cost of treatment plans. This approach has helped us earn superior settlements for our clients that provide the funds necessary to pay for long-term medical needs.

Additional Information

Investigating the Causes of Fires & Explosions

Fires and explosions are often caused by carelessness of a contractor, sub-contractor, supplier, or product manufacturer, which manifests as faulty wiring, defective appliances, irresponsible smoking, or a gas leak. Occasionally, however, these incidents are caused intentionally by someone – arson or even terrorism. Detecting the cause of a fire or explosion requires experts, and those experts should be brought in early to do their work. Your lawyer also needs to have experience and the resources to work up a fire or explosion case properly.

Fire & Explosion Injuries

In an explosion, the human body is subject to sudden, concussive applications of force. Most explosion lawyers and doctors deal only with the obvious, significant traumatic injuries that occur, but do not consider internal injuries or injuries sustained by those further from the site of a blast. 

Hearing damage, soft tissue damage, and severe brain damage can occur in people who suffer no obvious physical injuries from an explosion, particularly if they are knocked down by the force of a blast. The physical side-effects of burns or smoke inhalation must also be considered, which can be deadly and show up unexpectedly. In addition, one of the most important overlooked injuries is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can occur as a result of the shock and trauma.

Physicians have already begun to understand the impact of explosions on the brain and body, thanks to new diagnostic tools and testing. The law is catching up slowly, but clients need explosion attorneys like those at Sheff & Cook who are well-versed on the latest science and medical findings to ensure that they receive the full damages they need for medical treatment.

Sheff & Cook’s Approach

Sheff & Cook’s unique team approach to all of our cases allows us to surpass the services offered by other personal injury lawyers near Boston. We demonstrate the impact of visible and invisible injuries in the lives of our clients and develop lifetime care plans that enhance the value of settlements and courtroom awards. Most insurance company “bean counters” do not consider the long-term effects of explosions in the tables they use to negotiate settlements. Our team has challenged these assumptions by showing how explosions cause brain injury, hearing loss and other “invisible” injuries that can lead to chronic medical conditions. In every case we pursue, we reinforce our hard work to achieve compensation with heartfelt advocacy for you and your family.

United in the fight for justice after personal injury and wrongful death, with nearly a billion dollars recovered for our clients.

Contact Info

The Daniel Webster Suite
Ten Tremont Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Phone: +1 (617) 227-7000

Toll Free: +1 (888) 423-4477

Fax: +1 (617) 227-8833

Email: info@sheffandcook.com

Office Hours

Monday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Wednesday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Thursday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Saturday: By Appointment

Sunday: By Appointment