Gas Valve Trips Elderly Man

An evening walk leads to the emergency room for an elderly Omaha man. A utility valve is to blame.

The trip hazard worries John Gomez and last Friday you could see the concern all over his face. Gomez says, "My face swollen up, my eyes swollen up where I could hardly see."

Weeds camouflaged a gas valve that tripped John on a walk to the corner store. Gomez says, "Fell just flat on my face."

The adjacent homeowner, an 80-year-old woman who asked not to be identified, says she called Metropolitan Utilities District. When asked if she might be held responsible the homeowner responds, "Definitely not, no no no. I didn't put that in there they did."

The swelling has gone down but the financial pain won't go away.
John is almost deaf so its difficult to communicate with him but when asked about affording medical bills Gomez says, " Not really. I'm usually broke at the end of the month. I've got enough to buy a little bit of groceries and that's it."

Within two hours after calls from Fact Finders a MUD claims adjuster provides John with some comforting words. Mike Conrad the MUD claims adjuster tells John, "If you have a doctors bill or something like that let me know and I'll cover that for you okay? Thank you." says John.

But his family still has to file a claim . The gas valve gets a marking and barricade so the sidewalk hazard shouldn't cause a trip to the hospital for anyone else.

MUD relies on calls from the public to learn about hazards like this. If you see a problem the number for customer service is 402-554-6666.

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