BRADENTON, Fla. - Over a month after a home exploded in Manatee County, one of the family members who was severely burned has passed away from his injuries, according to the law firm representing the family.
Adrian Lopez Jr., 23, was in a coma at an intensive care unit following the December explosion. He was airlifted from Bradenton’s Blake Hospital a few weeks ago to another facility in Largo, where he died.
"This is something that’s an ongoing battle for the family," said Greg Burgos, a friend of the family.
Adrian’s father, Adrian Lopez Sr., also suffered third-degree burns. FOX 13 has reached out to the family’s attorney about his current condition.
Photo of Adrian Lopez Jr. provided by family
"They’ve lost Adrian [Jr.], their big hope for the family, who was about to graduate USF, as an engineer," Burgos said. "You know? How great is that for the family and the lineage of coming to this country."
According to Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue, a gas leak was reported in the area of 2900 9th Street West on the morning of December 3. It was about 500 feet from the Lopez home.
By that afternoon, crews with Peoples Gas, the sister company to Tampa Electric Company, were working with firefighters to stop a natural gas leak.
Some homes in the area were evacuated, but at around 2 p.m., an explosion blasted the roof off of the Lopez family’s home at 804 29th Ave. W, just two blocks from where crews were working.
"They have nothing, literally. Their personal belongings have been blown up. They have nothing," attorney CJ Czaia said at the time, adding the law firm will conduct their own investigation into the cause of the explosion.
"We’re going to find out what happened," he added, "and why it happened. I can tell you what we believe to have happened, but it’s not fact until we know exactly what happened."
Attorneys maintain the Lopez family was assured by emergency personnel that it was safe for them to remain in their home.
FOX 13 reached out to the Cedar Hammock Fire District, one of the main responding agencies on December 3. They would not provide details about what happened that day but say the department was saddened to hear the news of Adrian Jr.’s passing.
"Cedar Hammock Fire Control District would like to offer its sincere condolences to the Lopez family during this time of grief," Deputy Chief Kyle Bradshaw said in an e-mail. "May the love, prayers, and support of family, friends, and community bring them comfort during this most difficult time."
An online fundraiser has been set up to help the family cover funeral costs at https://www.gofundme.com/f/funeral-expenses-for-adrian-junior-lopez.
The Lopez family attorney plans to provide an update on their investigation Friday afternoon.