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Woman mistakes stick of dynamite for a candle during power outage, says previous homeowners are to blame

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BRIDGEPORT — It’s the stuff of cartoons.

But Karina Gutierrez is not laughing.

She’s suing over the serious injuries she sustained when she accidentally grabbed a stick of explosives, mistaking it for a candle.

“This is a terribly tragedy to happen to this family,” said Gutierrez’s lawyer, Paul Ganim. “We are thankful, although the mother was tragically injured, that the young children were not physically injured. I am committed to pursuing all legal actions to adequately compensate this family for their horrible loss.”

Gutierrez and her husband, Abidias Martinez, are suing the former owner of their Lindley Street home, Oscar Aguirre, in Superior Court here. Aguirre could not be reached for comment.

On Sept. 6, 2018, powerful thunderstorms swept through the area, knocking out power to hundreds of city residents, including those in the home where Gutierrez lived with her husband and two young children.

Shortly after the power went out in her home, the lawsuit states, Gutierrez began to search the house for candles. During her search she found what she believed to be a candle in the basement. But when she lit the wick on top of the candle-shaped object it exploded, the suit states.

As a result of the explosion the suit states that Gutierrez suffered serious injury to her face, eyes and hands and was treated first at Bridgeport Hospital and later transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In the meantime, local police and the state police bomb squad evacuated the family and cordoned off the home as they investigated the explosion.

The suit states that Gutierrez lost part of her left hand, suffered injury to her right eye and permanent scarring of her face, chest and arms as the result of the explosion. She will have to undergo continued medical treatment incurring significant medical expenses.

“Mrs. Gutierrez’s injuries and losses were directly caused by the willful, wanton and reckless conduct of the defendant in that he knew of the existence of the explosive device but failed to remove it from the basement when he sold the property in deliberate disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs,” the suit states.

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